What a great use for civic space. The City of New York has just announced an initiative to create a "kitchen incubator"—a 4,000 square foot commercial kitchen, at the site of La Marqueta in East Harlem, that will allow start-up food businesses access to a professional-quality appliances at below-market cost. Once a thriving Hispanic food market with hundreds of stalls, the La Marqueta space is now effectively defunct, with only a handful of vendors remaining.
Why channel tax dollars into such a project? While any business must contend with start-up costs, food producers require more capital than many; commercial-grade equipment entails an enormous investment, even without the added cost of New York rent. An established kitchen, made available at a far lower cost, would allow small enterprises space to develop their businesses and their products—with the expectation, of course, that they will move on to their own locations.
Officials are still seeking an independent organization to manage the space and screen potential participants, so there's no formal timeline yet. Still, it's a heartening sign that New York is still supporting the growth of small business. As least where kitchens are concerned.
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