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La Marqueta Hosts Open House for Vendors Looking for Retail Space

By Gustavo Solis | August 21, 2014 3:06pm
 With the City Council allocating $3 million from the from the city budget to reinvigorate La Marqueta, East Harlem's indoor market looks poised to make a comeback.
La Marqueta
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EAST HARLEM — Longtime indoor market La Marqueta will host an open house Friday with beer, wine and live music in an effort to attract new business and customers.

Interested artists, business owners and vendors will be able to look around the space between 6 and 8 p.m., learn about the recent revitalization efforts and meet the staff.

The outreach is part of a $3 million renovation project City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced on Aug. 15.

The expansion will include an upgrade of the water and electric infrastructure, remodeled bathrooms, new stalls and a redesigned layout, according to a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

La Marqueta also offers other incentives to vendors and artists such as a discounted rent of $35 per square foot, affordable off-street parking, subsidized utilities and use of available cooler space at discounted prices, according to their website.

“They need to open all the stores,” vendor Jose Rodriguez told DNAinfo New York after the $3 million revitalization announcement. “People should come here for all of their shopping instead of going to other places.”

Rodriguez grew up in the neighborhood and remembers shopping at La Marqueta in the early 1980s.

But the market has been in decline for decades. More than half of the stores are closed and vendors have had a hard time attracting new customers, he said.

There are about 20 stalls in the market and just seven of them are being used by merchants, according to the EDC's website.

Applications for stalls will be accepted on a rolling basis.

After the open house, the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival will host a screening at La Placita — a public space under the Metro-North tracks that has been decked out with chairs, tables and WiFi.

"Together, we can help ensure that La Marqueta becomes the prime location again for local vendors and entrepreneurs," Mark-Viverito wrote in the invitation to Friday's event.