Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Home for Philly Produce Market

"Nine years after the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market began looking for a new home, it's finally about to get one.

The 686,000-square-foot building is nearly complete - a bright and airy indoor mall that will cater to the public, commercial chain stores, small mom-and-pop groceries, restaurants, schools, and government buyers.

The concourse, under a quarter-mile-long skylight, will be lined with fruit and vegetable shops where consumers can purchase strawberries, lettuce, or pears by the crate or case at wholesale prices.
Twenty-six merchants will move from their antiquated quarters at the 51-year-old produce terminal in South Philadelphia in February to the new market at 6700 Essington Ave., across from the auto mall and near the airport.
The market is divided into eight sections, each the size of a football field. Upstairs are offices where sales staffs will sell and trade fruits and vegetables around the world.

Downstairs is the display market and warehouse, which traces its roots to William Penn and the wharves on Dock Street, now the site of the Sheraton Society Hill hotel.

The $218.5 million public-private financing includes $152.5 million from Pennsylvania, a $50 million loan from American International Group Inc., a $12 million low-interest loan from Pennvest, a $3 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a $750,000 job-creation grant.

Under the deal, the port authority owns the 48-acre site for 40 years. After that, the market can buy it for $1, assuming it has paid all its rent.

Produce Market: Vital Statistics686,000 square feet; 1,294 feet in length (just under a quarter of a mile)

$218.5M Cost

$1.6B Yearly projected sales

1,500 Permanent jobs

500 Peak construction jobs

26 Vendors

224 Enclosed refrigerated docks

33-50 Temperature range in degrees Fahrenheit among the vendor stalls"

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