UPPER EAST SIDE—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to invest $150 million in the Hunts Point Market over the next 12 years to help stimulate the economy and allow New Yorkers to eat more locally-grown food.
The announcement came at an Association For a Better New York breakfast at The Pierre Hotel where the mayor also played pied piper to business and finance leaders by urging them to voluntarily raise their minimum wages to above $13.
The mayor also said he would soon announce city neighborhoods where his administration planned to greatly expand the manufacturing sector.
"It will modernize the buildings and infrastructure that are currently at Hunts Point and open up new space for small businesses," said de Blasio.
The New Fulton Fish Market will get food manufacturing facilities under the plan and a nearby brownfield site will be remediated to be used as a food processing or manufacturing facility, city officials said. It was not clear exactly where the site will be.
The 329-acre site already supports 115 private wholesalers who provide over 8,000 jobs but suffers from outdated facilities.
"These are good, decent-paying jobs for New Yorkers at every education level. Our plan protects those jobs and positions the site to create many more jobs for New Yorkers in the future," said the mayor, who added that the project included dedicated space to link the city with food grown in upstate New York.
The announcement was in line with the mayor's overall message to the city's business community "that inequality is a crisis that impacts all of us."
"If New York cannot be a city of genuine opportunity for all – regardless of the circumstances of their birth – then we not only lose a part of who we are – we risk losing our place as a global center of innovation, diversity, and progress," said de Blasio.
In order for the city to grow, the mayor called on the private sector to not only hire New Yorkers "from every neighborhood," but to also voluntarily raise their minimum wage to above $13 per hour.
De Blasio is pushing the state to raise the minimum wage to $13 per hour and index it to inflation so that it automatically rises to $15 by 2019.
Cuomo has called that plan a "non-starter" in Albany and previously proposed a minimum wage of $11.50 for New York City and $10.50 for the rest of the state by the end of 2016.
The mayor urged business leaders to not wait for the state to act and to go above and beyond when it comes to wages.
"Companies across our city should move as quickly as possible to raise their minimum pay to over $13 an hour – that being the level we’re fighting to achieve in Albany," said de Blasio.
"To that end, I am calling on major investors and lenders to put their money in companies that pay good wages," the mayor added.
But there was pushback on the mayor's request.
"Voluntarily is the operative word here," said Wylde when asked after the speech whether she supported the mayor's call for business leaders to voluntarily raise their minimum wage.