First store opens at the Bronx Gateway

April 23, 2009 3:52:20 PM PDT
Franklyn Clement has just been handed a new lease on life. He was laid off 8 months ago, didn't have any luck finding work, until now.

Thursday was his first day on the job at the newly-opened Home Depot in the Bronx.

"I'm learning new things entirely from what I went to school for and previous job. New knowledge and new direction for me," Clement said.

It's a maiden voyage for thousands of people who live in the borough.

Mayor Bloomberg did the honors, officially welcoming Home Depot to the former Bronx Terminal Market.

It's the first of more than a dozen stores at the Bronx Gateway Center, an 18-acre plot of land.

Once the rest of the tenants move in, by September, twenty-one-hundred more people will start working.

Daymon Evans lives nearby.

"It's wonderful. We need it in Bronx. Don't have many shopping malls here. Always have to travel to Jersey, to upstate somewhere. It's blessed," Evans said.

Built in the 1920's, at one time this location was one of the largest Hispanic food wholesale operations in the country.

Over time the operation fell into disrepair. In the end, only two dozen merchants remained. Those businesses have reluctantly relocated.

"We're going to have the same problem at Willard's Point, but we have a whole program there to try to train people for new jobs, find places for new businesses. The move can't stop. You have to have development," Mayor Bloomberg said.

Gateway Center is just the beginning. It's part of a larger effort to revitalize this area with residential housing and parks along the waterfront

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NOTE: New Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is Diana Williams's guest on Eyewitness News Up Close this Sunday (April 27). Click here to submit questions.


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