In the news: Fresh Direct Spurs Border War with New Jersey

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Confused about proposed subsidies to the online grocer? You're not alone.  Our breakdown is here.

Fresh Direct, which has received over $2 million in subsidies for its Queens facility, is threatening to move its operations to New Jersey unless it receives an incentive pacakge for a South Bronx location.  City, State and Bronx officials have proposed a subsidy package worth over $100 million. Residents of the South Bronx are responding to the proposed subsidies. A diverse coalition, South Bronx Unite - Stop Fresh Direct  is actively working to block Fresh Direct's potential move to their neighborhood.

Fresh Direct, which is often criticized for its low wages, has been approved for an $81 million subsidy package through the New York City Industrial Development Agency to build a new facility at Harlem River Yards in The Bronx (IDA materials are here, here and here). The firm is expected to recieve approximatley $40 million more in capital grants, tax credits and loans from New York State and the Bronx Borough President and Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.


Read GJNY's 10 Reasons Why You Should Sour on Fresh Direct's Proposed Subsidies for Expanding at Harlem River Yards in the Bronx  

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Empire State Development board of directors votes in affirmation of FreshDirect General Project Plan

February 19, 2015: The Empire State Development board of directors voted in favor of affirming General Project Plan for FreshDirect's relocation to the Harlem River Yards, providing $9 million grant, $1 million loan, and $18.2 million in Excelsior Tax Credits. Details can be found in the February 2015 Empire State Development board book [See pages 41-73 for the FreshDirect project pages].

Empire State Development Corporation holds public hearing on the Fresh Direct Capital Project

November 17, 2014: The New York State Empire State Development Corporation held a public hearing on the Fresh Direct Capital Project adopted at the Directors' meeting on August 27, 2014. View related project documents.

Read GJNY's testimony

Read coverage of the hearing in a South Bronx resident's blog Welcome2Melrose

Bronx Elected officials urge Fresh Direct CEO to pay fair wages

August 8, 2014: A letter to Fresh Direct CEO Jason Ackerman, sent by 18 elected officials from the Bronx urges the company to negotiate a fair contract for its unionized workers (UFCW) and requests that the company halt its practice of engaging "union-avoidance consultants." View related news articles.

Appellate Division ruled in favor of $80 million Industrial Development Agency subsidies to Fresh Direct to relocate to a South Bronx waterfront without any requirement for environmental impact assessment. Community continues to fight

March 27, 2014: "Appellate Division Defers to Bloomberg-era Approval of FreshDirect; South Bronx Unite Calls Decision a Disappointing Reinforcement of theTale of Two Cities" - read the entire press release from South Bronx Unite.

Meeting and hearing on December 18, 2013 of the New York Empowerment Zone Corporation which seeks authorization of $3 million loan and $500,000 grant

The meeting agenda for the New York Empowerment Zone Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development, shows that the directors will seek authorization for the Fresh Direct relocation project.

New York Empowerment Zone Corporation meeting agenda

Fresh Direct removed from agenda after Congressman Serrano made clear he would vote against it

Press Release South Bronx Unite and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Applaud Congressman José Serrano and New York Empowerment Zone Board’s Rejection of $3.5M FreshDirect Subsidy

New York City Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors meeting July 23, 2013 9:00 am passed resolution on Fresh Direct

The New York City Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors passed an authorizing resolution on the Fresh Direct subsidy. 

Statement from New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, whose office gave the only vote against the project.

Press release from South Bronx Unite, Lawyers for the Public Interest, and Good Jobs New York condemning the New York City Industrial Development Agency's approval of subsidies for Fresh Direct.

Public notice and agenda for NYCIDA Board of Directors July 23, 2013 meeting

Board book for NYCIDA Board of Directors July 23, 2013 meeting - Fresh Direct materials begin on page 83. 

New York Association of Grocery Stores join South Bronx Unite! and others in press conference announcing opposition to City's proposed subsidy to Fresh Direct: November 14, 2012

Grocers and bodega owners join in opposition to this outrageous misuse of public funds that would give Fresh Direct an unfair competitive advantage leading to the closure of vital bricks and mortar stores, and the jobs that they provide, in the South Bronx and throughout New York City.

Read the full media advisory

Coverage from South Bronx Unite

Statement from Good Jobs New York


Residents, South Bronx Unite! file lawsuit against Fresh Direct and public entities for failing to conduct proper environmental assessment: June 12, 2012

In an effort to stop Fresh Direct from moving to the Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx, area residents and members of South Bronx Unite filed a lawsuit in The Bronx stating that the on-line grocer and various city and state agencies failed to conduct a throrough environmental assesment. Read the amended petition

Council Memebers question Harlem River Rail Yard lease (proposed Fresh Direct location): May 7, 2012 

City Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Maria Carmen del Arroyo urge State Department of Transportation Commissioner to re-evaluate the lease for the proposed site for Fresh Direct's new facility. Concerns include potentially heavy truck traffic in an increasingly residential neighborhood with notoriously high asthma rates. Read the letter

IDA Board of Directors preliminary vote: February 14, 2012  

The IDA Board of Directors voted to approve the project with one dissenting vote from the New York City Comptroller's Office.  As a result of pressure from the community, immediatley after the vote, the Bronx Borough President's Office released a Memorandum of Understanding with Fresh Direct to address communtiy concerns. Read the board book from the meeting (pages 50-70 for Fresh Direct materials). 

South Bronx Residents Respond: February 13, 2012

Community group, South Bronx Unite - Stop Fresh Direct releases comments in advance of a press conference regarding the upcoming vote on city subsidies.  

Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito asks members of the IDA Board to delay its vote on proposed subsidies for Fresh Direct, to allow more time for community input.

IDA Public Hearing: February 9, 2012

The New York City Industrial Development Agency held its monthly public hearingGood Jobs New York joined community members, enviornmental advocates and transportation experts to testifiy against proposed benefits to for Fresh Direct to relocate in the South Bronx. See a sampling of  testimony:

Bronx Council for Environmental Quality

Charles Komanoff, analysis of traffic delays

Friends of Brook Park

Good Jobs New York

Harlem River Working Group

New York City Coalition Against Hunger

The POINT Community Development Corporation

Tri-State Transportation Campaign 

Press release announcing Fresh Direct proposal: February 7, 2012

New York City , State and Bronx officials announce a susbsidy package of approximately $120 million just two days prior to the public hearing vote by the IDA board. The lack of public process ignited a groundswell of opposition from local residents and community groups.

News highlights:

Bronx News 12, Board votes to fund FreshDirect move, February 19, 2015

New York Daily News, FreshDirect finally breaks ground on distribution center in the Bronx, December 22, 2014

The New York Times, FreshDirect Breaks Ground in the South Bronx, Prompting Protests, December 22, 2014

Commercial Observer, FreshDirect Breaks Ground on 500,000-SF Bronx Facility, December 22, 2014

NY1, FreshDirect Breaks Ground in South Bronx, Protesters Vow to Keep Fighting, December 22, 2014

Welcome2Melrose, FreshDirect slammed by residents and physicians during public hearing in the Bronx: Science prevails, November 17, 2014

Norwood News, Bronx Pols Urge FreshDirect To Negotiate Contract Agreement, August 12, 2014

New York Daily News, Bronx officials push FreshDirect to pay fair wages, August 12, 2014

New York Daily News, FreshDirect move looks bad for the Bronx, May 27, 2014

Bronx Bureau, Congressman’s Opposition Stalls FreshDirect Vote, December 19, 2013

New York Daily News, Important vote on millions in government funding for FreshDirect's Bronx move is shelved indefinitely, December 18, 2013

New York Daily News, City panel approves FreshDirect move to the Bronx — thanks to $127 million in incentives, July 24, 2013

The New York World, City approves FreshDirect subsidy, July 24, 2013

News 12 Bronx, Industrial Development Agency approves $127M for FreshDirect move to the South Bronx, July 23, 2013

Mobilizing the Region, Despite Community Opposition, NYC Industrial Development Agency Votes to Allow Fresh Direct Relocation to the South Bronx, July 23, 2013

Bronx Bureau City Limits, FreshDirect’s Bronx Foes Weigh Appeal, June 4, 2013

City Limits, FreshDirect Job Vows: At Odds with Environmental Claims? May 16, 2013

New York Times, Residents Sue FreshDirect Over Move to the Bronx, March 4, 2013

DNA info, FreshDirect Defends New Bronx Facility Against Legal Challenge, March 4, 2013

Citi Limits, Fresh Direct Deal Divides Rising Stars, November 30, 2012

Mott Haven Herald, Grocery group announces opposition to FreshDirect, November 14, 2012

Gothamist, Billionaires, Small Businesses Rally Against FreshDirect, November 14, 2012

DNA Info, Gristedes Owner and Other Grocers Join Fight vs. FreshDirect's Subsidies, November 14, 2012

Daily  News, Supermarket owners join fight against FreshDirect in South Bronx while activists fume over truck dump, November 14, 2012

Mott Haven Herald, FreshDirect brings hobbled trucks to Port Morris, November 13, 2012

News12, FreshDirect trucks discarded in Mott Haven, November 12, 2012

Crain's Insider, Gristedes’ Catsimatidis to fight FreshDirect subsidies, November 9, 2012

New York Association of Grocery Stores, Fairway, FreshDirect, and the Importance of Neighborhood Stores, November November 9, 2012

Daily News, Opponents of FreshDirect move to South Bronx add to lawsuit against government-subsidized project, September 10, 2012

Ecosalon, Behind the Label: Investigating FreshDirect's local commitment, August 29, 2012

Crain's New York Business, FreshDirect pushes online food stamp shopping, July 11, 2012

BronxTalk, Host Gary Axelbank discusses the facts about Fresh Direct with guests, June 18, 2012

Village Voice, South Bronxites Sue FreshDirect, City For Ducking Asthma Risk Study, June 13, 2012

The Riverdale Press, point of view, FreshDirect: Stay out, June 13, 2012

Mott Haven Herald, Mott Haven residents sue FreshDirect, June 13, 2012

WNYC, Community Activists Sue to Stop Fresh Direct from Moving In, June 12, 2012

Daily News, FreshDirect deal is sour, sez lawsuit, June 12, 2012

The Riverdale Press point of view, Boycott Fresh Direct, June 6, 2012

DNA Info, City Strikes a Deal for Bronx Bridge to Randall's Island, May 24, 2012

Haven on the Harlem: The South Bronx Struggles to Reclaim a River (interactive news feature of Mott Haven Herald): Balancing Act Between Jobs and Green Space, May 14, 2012

Daily News, Fresh Direct's rotten Bronx deal, May 13, 2012

Daily News, Two City Council members ask state to delay South Bronx deal for FreshDirect pending property audit , May 9, 2012

Daily News, The battle over FreshDirect and the Hunts Point Market has cast the issue of government assistance into sharp focus, April 29, 2012

The Riverdale Press, The Bronx is burning ... from fossil fuel, March 28, 2012

Mott Haven Herald, FreshDirect protesters take their beef to Manhattan, March 22, 2012

Bronx Matters, Brooklynites Share Development Fight Lessons with Boogie Down Brethren, March 12, 2012

Crain's New York Business, [also re-printed in the blog of The New SchoolAre subsidies to keep firms in NY worth it?, March 4, 2012

Alternet, How FreshDirect Delivers Misery Along With Your Groceries--And How Workers and the Community are Fighting Back, March 4, 2012

WNYC, In Fresh Direct Move to the Bronx, Food Delivery to Borough Not a Priority, February 27, 2012

The New York Times, For Fresh Direct, an Old-Fashioned Handout, February 23, 2012

Bronx Times, Mott Haven residents rally over relocation of Fresh Direct headquarters, February 20, 2012

The New York Times, In Bronx, FreshDirect and Land of Great Promises, February 20, 2012

The Riverdale Press, Under the wire, February 15, 2012

The Mott Haven Herald, City approves FreshDirect subsidies, February 14, 2012

The New York Times, Criticism of FreshDirect Deal Is Off Base, City Officials Say, February 14, 2012

Village Voice, liveblog of IDA Board Meeting, February 14, 2012

Crain's New York, Opposition to FreshDirect subsidy deal mounts, February 13, 2012

New York Post: Column, February 10, 2012

Queens Courier, Is Fresh Direct moving from L.I.C.? January 18, 2012

New York Daily News, Bronx, New Jersey vying for new Fresh Direct headquarters, January 16, 2012

The New York Times, New Jersey Tries to Lure Fresh Direct From QueensJanuary 10, 2012


Related Public Documents

February 2015 Empire State Development board book affirming General Project Plan for FreshDirect's relocation to the Harlem River Yards, providing $9 million grant, $1 million loan, and $18.2 million in Excelsior Tax Credits. [See pages 41-73 for the FreshDirect project pages]

2013 lease agreement between NYCIDA and FreshDirect for the site located between East 132nd street and the Harlem River and between Willis Avenue Bridge to the west and the Rober F. Kennedy bridge to the east in the Harlem River Yards in the Bronx. known by the address: 2 St. Ann's Avenue, Bronx, NY

NYCIDA Authorizing Resolution on Fresh Direct, LLC included in board book for NYCIDA Board of Directors July 23, 2013 meeting - Fresh Direct materials begin on page 83. 

NYCIDA Inducement Resolution on Fresh Direct, LLC included in the board book from the NYCIDA Board of Directors February 14, 2012 meeting (pages 50-70 for Fresh Direct materials). 

Materials released in advance of the February 2012 IDA public hearing:


New York Empowerment Zone Corporation meeting agenda for the December 18, 2013 Meeting of the Directors. 

Power Point presentation given at February 14, 2012 IDA Board meeting; see pages 17-22 for the section presenting the Fresh Direct project. 


Memorandum of Understanding with Bronx Borough President, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, and Fresh Direct; February 2012

1994 New York State Department of Transportation Record of Decision on the use of Harlem River Yards

1999 Lease Agreement between the NYC Industrial Development Agency and Fresh Direct for the lease of the firm's current property in Queens

Final Environmental Assessment Form for Fresh Direct, December 2011 (coming soon)


Materials submitted on behalf of Fresh Direct to NJ Economic Development Authority. All materials submitted by consulting firm BLS: