Displaced Willets Point Auto Shops Being Evicted from New Bronx Home

Displaced Willets Point Auto Shops Being Evicted from New Bronx Home

 

By Katie Honan | September 22, 2017 1:51pm | Updated September 25, 2017 8:56am

 Shop owners displaced from Willets Point are now being evicted from their Hunts Point shop. A sign, which translates to

HUNTS POINT — More than three years ago, 45 mechanic and auto-body shops agreed to move from their Willets Point storefronts to a large warehouse in The Bronx, after the city took over their properties for a massive redevelopment of the area.

Now, those shop owners say they’re being evicted from their new home over unpaid rent, after struggling in a location far from their usual customers in the Iron Triangle.

“It’s sad, isn’t it?” Marco Neira, the president of the Sunrise Cooperative, said at a news conference Thursday inside the barren warehouse at 1080 Leggett Ave. “We are in the worst spot right now.”

The cooperative, made up of 45 businesses, received more than $7 million from the city to move the shops to The Bronx and build out a new home for themselves. They turned down individual buyouts and instead chose to pool their money for the new facility, to maintain the one-stop-shopping convenience for drivers looking for repairs.

But since moving to The Bronx, it hasn’t been easy.

The cooperative filed for bankruptcy last fall. And now, after failing to pay months of rent on their large warehouse, they’re getting the boot — and pleading for more help from the city.

“[The city] can stop this,” Pedro Estevez, president of the United Auto Merchants Association (UAMA), said at the news conference Thursday. He said other businesses on Jerome Avenue, which are facing displacement from a separate rezoning, will likely face the same fate.

“You must stop this.”

 

City Councilman Rafael Salamanca who represents the area, said the building’s landlord was at fault for not working with both the city and the businesses to find a solution. Calls to the landlord — Advantage Wholesale Supply, a building maintenance supply company — were not returned.

He also said the city shouldn’t abandon the workers, many of whom have returned to Willets Point to work at other shops or are on public assistance.

“[The city] took over their land, they promised them that they would help them, they promised with a financial commitment,” he said. “That promise has been broken.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Willets Point development plan and oversaw the stores’ relocation, said it’s done “everything in our power” to keep the Sunrise Cooperative afloat.

After giving the group $7.5 million to renovate the Bronx warehouse, the agency provided an additional $2.4 million “in yet another effort to help keep them afloat,” an EDC spokeswoman said. But the landlord is refusing to accept the additional cash.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed that the landlord of 1080 Leggett Avenue has been unwilling to accept that offer, and has chosen to evict the co-op rather than work with us to move this project forward,” EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said in a statement.

It’s just the latest issue for the Willets Point development plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2013.

Sunrise Cooperative, an organization with businesses located in phase 1 of the development area, was the only applicant for the Willets Point Business Co-Relocation Fund, officials said.

In March 2014, the group leased 1080 Leggett Ave. with funds from the EDC. Neira, president of the cooperative, later filed a lawsuit against the city and the developers to secure more funding, but eventually agreed to drop it as more businesses began to leave Willets Point.

After moving to The Bronx, Neira said the cooperative found the building had multiple violations, and a plan to build out individual stores for the tenants never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, their former buildings in Willets Point have been razed for a development plan that is currently in limbo.

At a Community Board 7 meeting Monday, representatives from the EDC and the Queens Development Group — which were selected to develop the site — were grilled about the future of the site after an appeals court ruled against the proposed “Willets West” mall plan.

Developers said any work done at Willets Point is contingent on the mall construction, which is now blocked. The entire redevelopment plan could get scrapped by either the city or the developers if they don’t find another way to fund a cleanup of the area.

Neira said their long-neglected Willets Point shops had issues, such as unpaved roads and non-existent utilities — but customers still came, and business was brisk.

The new building in Hunts Point was promising, but they feel deceived, he said.

“Right here we had a beautiful place,” he said, “but in reality we had nothing.”

who represents the area, said the building’s landlord was at fault for not working with both the city and the businesses to find a solution. Calls to the landlord — Advantage Wholesale Supply, a building maintenance supply company — were not returned.

He also said the city shouldn’t abandon the workers, many of whom have returned to Willets Point to work at other shops or are on public assistance.

“[The city] took over their land, they promised them that they would help them, they promised with a financial commitment,” he said. “That promise has been broken.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Willets Point development plan and oversaw the stores’ relocation, said it’s done “everything in our power” to keep the Sunrise Cooperative afloat.

After giving the group $7.5 million to renovate the Bronx warehouse, the agency provided an additional $2.4 million “in yet another effort to help keep them afloat,” an EDC spokeswoman said. But the landlord is refusing to accept the additional cash.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed that the landlord of 1080 Leggett Avenue has been unwilling to accept that offer, and has chosen to evict the co-op rather than work with us to move this project forward,” EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said in a statement.

It’s just the latest issue for the Willets Point development plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2013.

Sunrise Cooperative, an organization with businesses located in phase 1 of the development area, was the only applicant for the Willets Point Business Co-Relocation Fund, officials said.

In March 2014, the group leased 1080 Leggett Ave. with funds from the EDC. Neira, president of the cooperative, later filed a lawsuit against the city and the developers to secure more funding, but eventually agreed to drop it as more businesses began to leave Willets Point.

After moving to The Bronx, Neira said the cooperative found the building had multiple violations, and a plan to build out individual stores for the tenants never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, their former buildings in Willets Point have been razed for a development plan that is currently in limbo.

At a Community Board 7 meeting Monday, representatives from the EDC and the Queens Development Group — which were selected to develop the site — were grilled about the future of the site after an appeals court ruled against the proposed “Willets West” mall plan.

Developers said any work done at Willets Point is contingent on the mall construction, which is now blocked. The entire redevelopment plan could get scrapped by either the city or the developers if they don’t find another way to fund a cleanup of the area.

Neira said their long-neglected Willets Point shops had issues, such as unpaved roads and non-existent utilities — but customers still came, and business was brisk.

The new building in Hunts Point was promising, but they feel deceived, he said.

“Right here we had a beautiful place,” he said, “but in reality we had nothing.”

who represents the area, said the building’s landlord was at fault for not working with both the city and the businesses to find a solution. Calls to the landlord — Advantage Wholesale Supply, a building maintenance supply company — were not returned.

He also said the city shouldn’t abandon the workers, many of whom have returned to Willets Point to work at other shops or are on public assistance.

“[The city] took over their land, they promised them that they would help them, they promised with a financial commitment,” he said. “That promise has been broken.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Willets Point development plan and oversaw the stores’ relocation, said it’s done “everything in our power” to keep the Sunrise Cooperative afloat.

After giving the group $7.5 million to renovate the Bronx warehouse, the agency provided an additional $2.4 million “in yet another effort to help keep them afloat,” an EDC spokeswoman said. But the landlord is refusing to accept the additional cash.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed that the landlord of 1080 Leggett Avenue has been unwilling to accept that offer, and has chosen to evict the co-op rather than work with us to move this project forward,” EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said in a statement.

It’s just the latest issue for the Willets Point development plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2013.

Sunrise Cooperative, an organization with businesses located in phase 1 of the development area, was the only applicant for the Willets Point Business Co-Relocation Fund, officials said.

In March 2014, the group leased 1080 Leggett Ave. with funds from the EDC. Neira, president of the cooperative, later filed a lawsuit against the city and the developers to secure more funding, but eventually agreed to drop it as more businesses began to leave Willets Point.

After moving to The Bronx, Neira said the cooperative found the building had multiple violations, and a plan to build out individual stores for the tenants never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, their former buildings in Willets Point have been razed for a development plan that is currently in limbo.

At a Community Board 7 meeting Monday, representatives from the EDC and the Queens Development Group — which were selected to develop the site — were grilled about the future of the site after an appeals court ruled against the proposed “Willets West” mall plan.

Developers said any work done at Willets Point is contingent on the mall construction, which is now blocked. The entire redevelopment plan could get scrapped by either the city or the developers if they don’t find another way to fund a cleanup of the area.

Neira said their long-neglected Willets Point shops had issues, such as unpaved roads and non-existent utilities — but customers still came, and business was brisk.

The new building in Hunts Point was promising, but they feel deceived, he said.

“Right here we had a beautiful place,” he said, “but in reality we had nothing.”

News 12 – The Bronx

THE BRONX –  August 19th 2018

Hundreds march against rezoning plans for Jerome Ave.

Hundreds of residents gathered Saturday for a march to voice their displeasure with the city’s rezoning plans for Jerome Avenue.

The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision gathered at Keltch Park for the march and were represented by labor unions and community groups throughout the Bronx.

Residents say they are frustrated with the city’s plan and believe their requests for career track jobs, deeper affordable housing and anti-displacement policies have been ignored.

Community members released a report during the event that they believe will do more to prevent potential small business displacement along Jerome Avenue.

Some people at the march said they just want the city to consider the requests of the people who live in the Bronx and want what is best for their neighborhoods.

“This is the beginning of the End” Julio

 

 

 

IMG_0604

After surviving decades of hardship to remain in business, the planned rezoning for the Jerome Avenue corridor is threatening the continued existence of the automotive repair community.

After surviving decades of hardship to remain in business, the planned rezoning for the Jerome Avenue corridor is threatening the continued existence of the automotive repair community.

After enduring the burning of the south Bronx and being ignored by local and federal agencies that provided no support or resources for community/business development, hundreds of merchants in the Jerome Avenue corridor are being forced out and again being left to fend for themselves.

The City of NY is planning to rezone the Jerome Ave corridor where the majority of these small Latino and minority owned automotive businesses have called home for over a quarter of a century.

This rezoning plan places all of these businesses in danger of shutting down and losing their life investment and the livelihood that their families depend on.

As you speak to the merchants, it is widely evident along the avenue that without support or a coordinated plan, displacing these merchants will force many of them to go out of business.

While the rezoning plan has not been fully approved, the merchants are already being forced out by the current landlords who are cashing in by selling their buildings to developers.

The City of New York is not taking into serious consideration and respecting the fact that most of these small businesses have operated well within their industry guidelines, have paid their due taxes and operating fees and have employed over 2500 people/residents from all over The Bronx/city.

I believe in and support the community and economic development necessary to help raise the quality of life of Bronx residents and all New Yorkers.

But, I also believe that this new affordable housing and business SHOULD NOT be achieved by displacing all of the businesses that currently exist throughout the corridor.

A transition plan that includes true merchant input is without question, necessary for an honest and equitable transition.

This plan must also include assistance with relocation costs, compliance issues, equipment upgrades and staff/management training.

This is the only way that this Rezoning Plan will really work for all involved.

Let’s not repeat in The Bronx what happened to the merchants in Queens!

This is my humble opinion.

Pedro J. Estevez
President and Founder
United Auto Merchants Association

Talleres automotrices del corredor Jerome temen el final de su existencia por rezonificacion

Por Víctor Gómez

NUEVA YORK.- La United Auto Merchants Asosociation denunció que después de sobrevivir a décadas de dificultades para permanecer con sus negocios abiertos, el cambio de zonificación pronosticado para el corredor de la avenida Jerome, en el Bronx, los está amenazando con la desaparición de estos lo que se llevaría de paro todos los negocios de reparación de automóviles de la zona.

Pedro J. Estévez, presidente y fundador de dicha asociación, quien fungió de vocero de los quejosos se lamentó que después de soportar la carbonización del Sur del Bronx y de ser ignorado por las agencias locales y federales que no proporcionaron ningún tipo de apoyo para el desarrollo de cientos de comerciantes del corredor Jerome, están siendo forzados a salir de allí.

IMG_0363

“La ciudad de Nueva York tiene la intención de rezonificar el corredor Jerome donde la mayoría de estas pequeñas empresas automotrices propiedad de latinos y miembros de minorías se han forjados aquí, de donde han sostenido sus familias durante más de un cuarto de siglo”, explicó Estévez.

Entiende que ese plan de rezonificar el corredor Jerome coloca esas empresas en peligro de liquidación y la pérdida de sus inversiones de toda una vida y los medios de donde dependen sus familias, lo que a medida que se consultan a los comerciantes se evidencia que sin un apoyo o un plan coordinado obligaría a muchos de ellos a ir a la quiebra.

Denunció que sin ser aprobado en su totalidad el plan de rezonificación del corredor Jerome, ya los propietarios de los edificios están sacando grandes beneficios vendiéndolo a los desarrolladores de dicho proyecto iniciando así los desalojos correspondientes.

IMG_0597

 

“La ciudad de Nueva York no está tomando en cuenta ni respetando el hecho que la mayoría de estos pequeños negocios han funcionado dentro de los reglamentos con la industria, han pagado sus impuestos adeudados y los gastos de funcionamiento, empleando a mas de 2 mil 500 personas que residentes en el Bronx y otras ciudades”, se quejó Pedro J. Estévez.

Entienden que la comunidad necesita el apoyo necesario para elevar la calidad de vida de los residentes del Bronx y todos los neoyorquinos en sentido general, pero que sin embargo considera que estas nuevas viviendas y negocios planteados por la ciudad no deben lograrse mediante el desplazamiento de todas las empresas que existen actualmente en todo el corredor Jerome.

Recomendó desarrollar un plan de transición que incluya todos estos comerciantes, es sin duda lo necesario para ejecutar una transición honesta y equitativa, donde se incluya ayuda con los gastos de traslado, problemas de cumplimientos, mejora de equipos y entrenamiento del personal y administración, como única fórmula de que este plan de rezonificación funciones con todos los involucrados.

Finalmente dijo que no debe repetirse en el Bronx lo sucedido a los comerciantes de Queens.