Auto body shops in Hunts Point may be joined by those evicted from Willets Point.
Around sixty of more than 200 auto shops evicted from Willets Point could soon relocate to Hunts Point in the Bronx, NY. The auto body businesses were displaced to make way for redevelopment projects in the Queens, NY neighborhood. Hunts Point Express‘ Joe Hirsch reports that the small businesses are in the final stages of a deal to move to the Bronx.
Now that the Willets Point project has been approved by the city council, the business owners are completing plans to move into a 150,000 square-foot facility on the peninsula, according to Sergio Aguirre, a representative for the group. Although they have not announced the precise location because negotiations are ongoing, The Express has learned they will be housed in the former Manhattan Beer Distributors warehouse, which now sits empty at the corner of Leggett and Garrison Avenues above the Oak Point rail yard, a stone’s throw from the Bruckner Expressway.
A dozen or so auto body shops already occupy the Hunts Point area, but Aguirre doesn’t foresee any tension when the ones from Willets Point move in. Rather, they will bring along their old customers.
“The people who use our services are looking for us,” he said in a phone interview, adding that the businesses “have plans for job creation.” They employ about 300 workers, he estimated, but wouldn’t say how many of them would be moving to Hunts Point.
Rafael Salamanca is less optimistic about the new businesses. The district manager for Community Board 2 voiced the group frustration over the failure to inform them of the move.
“I know this is a private transaction, but it wasn’t a transparent process,” he said, adding it is unclear what the new businesses will contribute to an area already saturated with auto parts and body shops.