Mayor Lee Announces Long-Term Lease & Expansion of Wholesale Produce Market
New Legislation to Invest $100 Million Over Ten Years to Expand Fresh Food Hub, 500,000 Square Feet Expansion, Support Small Businesses & Jobs
5/14/12–Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen today announced new legislation to approve a long-term, 60-year master lease agreement and expansion plans for the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market located in the Bayview. The Wholesale Produce Market is a hub of San Francisco’s fresh food system, providing a steady supply of fruit and vegetables to restaurants and local grocers with nearly $500 million in gross annual revenue.
“The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market has been supplying our City and region with fresh, healthy produce for 137 years. This new $100 million investment and expansion will ensure that small businesses, neighborhood grocers and anyone in the market for fresh produce for their business will continue to receive their goods from San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee. “The Market will continue to provide an economic benefit to the City and create jobs for our residents.”
“The Wholesale Produce Market has been one of the hidden gems of the City for decades,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “The Market has served as a vital hub for the Southeastern sector of our City and the entire Bay Area region by providing the freshest food and goods, supporting small businesses and providing critical jobs for our residents. From farm to table, the Wholesale Produce Market and its wholesalers and direct distributors serve our local grocers and restaurants, and I am thrilled that they will be growing and expanding here in District 10.”
“This is one of the most significant days in the long history of the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market. For 137 years, the Market has played a central, vital role in the City, supplying the freshest fruits and vegetables from local growers to grocers, restaurants, and hotels,” said SF Wholesale Produce Market Governing Board President John Monfredini. “We’re deeply gratified that Mayor Lee and his administration recognize the value of ensuring the Market’s continued vitality. That support is essential to the ‘Growing Our Legacy’ initiative, a ten-year, $100 million reinvestment project that secures the future for the Market, our merchants, and their employees and customers.”
The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market was built in the early 1960s as part of a redevelopment effort in the Bayview. The merchants at that time were moved from what is now the area near the Embarcadero Center, where they had been in operation since the 1870s. The City assisted with obtaining financing for the project, which was fully repaid from merchant rent. The Wholesale Produce Market, which holds a 50-year ground lease from the City expiring in January of 2013, has operated as a City-controlled entity operated jointly by the San Francisco Market Corporation and the San Francisco Produce Association, with oversight by the City Controller and the Real Estate Department.
The Wholesale Produce Market currently occupies 300,000 square feet of space in 10 buildings, housing 30 produce wholesalers and distributors, a restaurant, and Bank of America retail branch. The Market employs 650 full time employees and has a gross annual revenue of $500 million. Over 50 percent of these businesses have operated more than 20 years, one since 1888. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market provides fresh produce to local and regional grocers, specialty and upscale retailers, restaurants, hotels, caterers and convention facilities.
The development plan envisions a three-phase, $100 million project that will include an adjacent City-owned property (the “901 Rankin Site”), improvement of existing streets surrounding the Market, the rerouting of Jerrold Avenue traffic to the improved side streets allowing the closure of Jerrold for the two block length of the Market, and the renovation or reconstruction of four of the Market’s existing warehouses to meet modern food-handling standards with increased capacity. As a result, the Market can expand from 300,000 to almost 500,000 square feet, invest in the expansion of small businesses and increase economic activity to almost $1.4 billion after completion, according to a 2007 Keyser Marsten Study. The increase in modern storage and distribution facilities will allow the Market to better attract and incubate additional high-quality produce businesses, and allow the Wholesale Produce Market to meet the needs of the 21st century food industry.
Joined by an assemblage of market merchant business owners, operators, members of the Wholesale Produce Market’s non-profit board, San Francisco Produce Association, and the Bayview community, the announcement was made on the premises of GreenLeaf, the Wholesale Produce Market’s largest tenant. Mayor Lee and Supervisor Cohen will introduce the legislation on Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.