It looks increasingly as if the list of new residents in the Bronx in 2019 will not include any of Major League Baseball’s top free agents. What is for sure is that one of Metro New York’s and the nation’s leading caterers Great Performances will be moving to the South Bronx.
Under the guidance of the visionary Liz Neumark, the nutritionally-conscious caterer will be making the move from Manhattan to the Bronx. This summer Great Performances moves from its long time home in Hudson Square to the Bruckner Building in the Bronx’s fast-changing Mott Haven neighborhood. Work is already underway on a former factory at 2417 Third Ave. in the neighborhood. The new location has nearly 41,000 square feet (compared with only 24,500 square feet at 304 Hudson St.) and will house all cooking, catering and events operations.
The company was founded in 1979 by Neumark as a staffing service for women in the arts. It is now an acknowledged leader in the high-profile arena of catered events.
Great Performances has built its reputation by serving many of New York City’s most legendary venues. These include the Plaza Hotel Grand Ballroom, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rockefeller University, and BAM. All of its restaurant-quality dishes will soon be prepared and delivered from the Bronx and trucked to a growing roster of clients.
Great Performances is the first catering company to own and operate its own organic farm, Katchkie Farm in Columbia County, New York. The Company pioneered the 100-Mile Menu, bringing sustainable food to the forefront of the special events industry.
The Company’s founder and CEO Neumark said, “I’m on the board of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District, so we knew this was coming” — referring to Disney’s purchase of four buildings last year to make room for a new headquarters tower. Neumark’s lease on Hudson Street, where it’s been for 26 years, had a demolition clause, but “fortunately it gave us a year to be out.”
The Great Performances move is the latest in the of the Bronx neighborhood. Today the resurgent area boasts new investments, new apartments and 24-7 street life, thanks to a slew of popular restaurants and taverns.
“I’m a Manhattan girl through and through. But we looked in Queens, we did the Brooklyn thing and Upper Manhattan. We never looked in the Bronx,” Neumark said. “I took that [Major Deegan] exit a million times and never noticed that building. But a year ago, it just grabbed me,” she said. “It’s one of those wonderful industrial buildings that no one builds anymore, sun-drenched and very, very comfortable.”
Savanna and Hornig spent $12 million to modernize the eight-story building. Now, it provides Great Performances with a “state-of-the-art facility that will incorporate significant production and energy efficiencies,” Neumark said. The floorplan will include space for the Sylvia Center, a non-profit which offers nutritional education to neighborhood
Neumark estimated the buildout cost at $4.5 million. The asking rent was between $25-30 per square foot, she said. The tenant was repped by Cushman & Wakefield’s David Lebenstein and Debra Wollens. The landlord was repped by Cushman’s Mitch Arkin and Omar Sozkesen and by JRT Realty’s Ellen Israel and Lauren Calandriello.
With the Great Performances move not only does the Bronx add a significant job creator but one of the industry’s truly legendary philanthropists. Neumark gives unselfishly of her time to a number of causes as a member of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger Advisory Board, a board member of the Fund for Public Housing and Chairwoman of the Hudson Square BID and of course, time is devoted to The Sylvia Center. It is a non-profit that Neumark founded, and it teaches children and their families how to cook and eat healthy food though hands on experiences on the farm and in the kitchen.
Celebrating its 12th anniversary this year, The Sylvia Center has served some 20,000 students with its programs in New York City and Columbia County. Students learn what it takes to prepare nutritious meals on a daily basis, and gain confidence knowing they can do something that’s good for themselves now, and the future.
To learn more about Liz Neumark, Great Performances, and their catering events, please visit their website.