Bartlett Dairy Factory Inc., a family-owned business that was formed in Elmhurst in 1968, will be coming back to Queens from Newark, NJ with jobs for residents.
In 2016, Bartlett left Queens because its lease was not renewed, but has been trying to come back to its home county for two years with the prospect of resettling in Springfield Gardens at JFK’s north site, one of the largest city-owned manufacturing zoned properties, according to the NYC Department of City Planning.
The factory will bring 165 jobs with it to the 8.5-acre site, according to Waheera Mardah, a project manager, government & community relations’ liaison for the city’s Economic Development Corporation last week at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.
“They are a New York-based, minority-owned family-run dairy and dry goods distribution company,” said Mardah. “They deliver dry and perishable goods to schools, hotels, groceries, restaurants amongst other [organizations].”
Bartlett’s largest contracts include the city’s Department of Education, the Archdiocese and Starbucks, according to Mardah. The factory currently employs 500 people in Jamaica, Rochester and the most in Newark.
Bartlett is committed to planting 35 trees on the vacant site, which was once designated as a flyover to connect Nassau Expressway bounded by 159th Street and Rockaway Boulevard directly to JFK International Airport, according to City Planning.
At $4 million, Bartlett is purchasing 6.15 acres of the land and development rights, according to Mardah. The remaining land will stay with the city.
“The deed includes a 25-year use restriction,” said Mardah.
The deed will be split for 10 years geared to dairy distribution and 15 years to industrial development, according to Mardah.
There are a few issues with the site that the city plans to address including a Con Edison substation, a National Grid gas mane and a Department of Transportation easement, according to Mardah.
When Bartlett was previously in Queens, 50 percent of its workforce was from the borough and the factory aims to do similar numbers in the future, according to Mardah. The average wages would be $70,000.
Bartlett will create 70 to 90 construction jobs, provide career training and it plans to utilize HireNYC for local recruitment, according to Mardah. It has a 25 percent minority/women business-owned construction and design business-hiring goal, according to the community liaison.
“Bartlett is very committed to being back in the community and they have provided a scholarship to be used for local students,” said Mardah.
Community Board Chairman Vincent Arcuri, however, found the 25 percent of M/WBE job designation to pale in comparison to the approximately 40 percent that LaGuardia Airport has promised with its redevelopment plans.
“I think the goal is a minimum and if they are able to do more I think Bartlett would do that,” said Mardah.
Bartlett wants to close on the property around December 2019 and start construction during winter 2020, according to Mardah. Bartlett is also working with the Workforce Development Center to help build community relationships and hire locals, which were mandated by Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica).
Council members Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway), I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Adams, and Community Board 13 Chairman Clive Williams approved the project.
“This is clea
rly a great project that is going to ensure we bring hundreds of jobs back not just to Queens but to the neighborhoods that have certainly been impacted disproportionally when it comes to job opportunities,” said Richards. “The M/WBE I’m happy with, but I always want to see more.”