Fresh Direct Plans Move to the Bronx
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Fresh Direct, the grocery delivery service based in Long Island City, Queens, announced plans Tuesday to open new headquarters in the Bronx within three years — despite attempts from New Jersey to woo the company to the Garden State.
The company said it plans to open a 500,000-square-foot facility on a 16-acre piece of land at the Harlem River Yards, according to a joint statement with city and state officials.
Fresh Direct said it will invest more than $112 million in the project, which it estimates will retain about 2,000 jobs in the area while creating another 1,000.
The project is also receiving more than $100 million in state and city incentives, including $18.9 million in excelsior tax credits and $74 million in sales tax exemptions and other tax breaks from the city, according to the statement.
Erin Gold, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, wouldn't specify how much money was offered.
“We're definitely disappointed about Fresh Direct's decision,” Gold said. “But we've come a long way in terms of improving the overall business climate of the state, so we would have loved to welcome another company like fresh direct.”
Not all New Yorkers were happy with Fresh Direct's decision, though. Bettina Damiani, with Good Jobs New York, said the plan needs further scrutiny — especially since the company's receiving those city and state incentives.
"If we're going to be subsidizing jobs, we need to make sure they're good quality jobs, and that if they're going to be in the Bronx, they should hire locally and make sure we can get as many people off the unemployment rolls and into good jobs as possible," she said.
Damiani added that she believes "too many" of the company's jobs pay too little, at $25,000 a year or less.
She also said the city's holding a public hearing on the matter this Thursday, and that several of the tax breaks still need to be approved.
Fresh Direct said it wants to expand its customer base to areas around New York City and in other states, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
With reporting by Nancy Solomon