The Real Deal New York

Harlem development corporation plans market under train tracks

April 09, 2012 02:30PM

Imagine the High Line, but in Harlem and at street level. The Daily News reported that the Harlem Community Development Corporation is now looking for ways to convert an unused strip of Park Avenue between East 111th and 125th streets in East Harlem into an open-air market. The $50 million project could advance as early as next year, the News said.

The project is known as “La Marqueta Mile” and would transform a vacant industrial stretch underneath the Park Avenue Viaduct into 22 blocks of food vendors and other small businesses. State officials say they see envision hundreds of kiosks, ranging in size from 80 to 160 square feet, along the 55-foot-wide promenade. In May, the HCDC will launch a promotional video campaign and a website for the project, the News said.

However, there are challenges. No secure funding has been set, with costs estimated at $2.1 million per block. The city also owns the Park Avenue strip, which gives it the final say over how it should be used. But Borough President Scott Stringer called the plan an “innovative” way to use underutilized city space. [NYDN] and [NY1]

  • harlem villager

    Who said the land under the viaduct was vacant? The last time I was there, I saw a garden center and a market under transition with new vendors? They even had a dance group occupying the “placita” on 16th st. Lunke or Flunke, please stop by the neighborhood before you decide to spend thousands on planning something that already exists. Focus on removing the asthma generating bus stations and garbage depots first. Not occupied land.

  • Response

    The Real Deal:

    Thank you for highlighting the New York Daily News article on La Marqueta Mile. With proper planning, we can create a 22-block long public market promenade under the Park Avenue viaduct from 111th to 133rd streets for approximately 900 local entrepreneurs, creating 4,000 jobs on a site that has more than 85% of its land either vacant or used as a parking lot.

    Our first goal is to determine the feasibility of this vision. It incorporates workforce training, “green” technology, food, health, and local cultural programming in an affordable way, addressing the community’s concerns about how East Harlem (and specifically Park Avenue) develops over time.

    As HCDC has been in the community since 1971, we visit the site regularly and are very familiar with the struggles of the few tenants that have recently signed leases or license agreements in the remnant space. Our vision is broad enough to incorporate these tenants and provide space for so many more.

    To learn more about this innovative project, please visit our website.

    Thomas Lunke
    Director of Planning & Development
    Harlem Community Development Corporation (HCDC)