The beloved but struggling landmark, which has been a fixture in the area since 1936, is getting a major facelift that will create three commercial kitchens and eight walk-in cooler spaces for budding food companies.
La Marqueta’s long-vacant, 10,000-square-foot Building 3 beneath the Metro-North tracks at E. 114th St. will be renovated with $2 million in City Council funds under a Mayor Bloomberg-backed initiative to invest in small manufacturing firms.
The redevelopment of Building 3 follows a similar project, in January 2011, that turned Building 4 into a thriving kitchen incubator for start-up companies.
It made shared kitchen facilities available to small businesses that were launch ed in home kitchens. The budding companies could rent the space for a few hours — or a week or a month — in the wildy popular incubator.
Now, those firms that need their own kitchens can lease professional commercial kitchens as large as 2,605 square-feet, and walk-in coolers up to 210 square-feet, in Building 3, officials say.
“Food manufacturing continues to be an important source of jobs and economic activity across the five boroughs — particularly for our city’s immigrant entrepreneurs,” said Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp.
Renovations at the city-owned, public marketplace began earlier this month and are expected to take about seven months to complete, EDC brass said.
The agency on Wednesday put out a request for lease offers and is actively seeking food tenants for the new space. They could move in as early as the spring of 2013, officials say.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the mart plays a “critical role in revitalizing East Harlem, creating good jobs — and supplying good food.”
“It’s thrilling to see La Marqueta continue to grow into a hub of economic activity and an exciting New York City culinary attraction,” she added.
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