Thursday, June 6, 2013

FreshDirect One Step Closer to South Bronx Expansion

A Bronx Supreme Court judge dismissed a lawsuit from by a community group seeking to block the online grocery's move to the Harlem River Yard in Mott Haven. Fresh Direct intends to invest $112.6 million to build its new headquarters and operations center at the Harlem River Yards, retaining nearly 2,000 existing jobs and creating almost 1,000 new jobs. The construction of the new 500,000 square foot facility will create 685 construction jobs, with an overall economic impact to the city of nearly $255 million.

The petition by South Bronx United challenged the company’s move from Long Island City, arguing that potential environmental damage would be caused by company vehicles, and that the city failed to properly analyze the environmental impact that would result from a "truck-intensive" business moving into the area, specifically the impact of noise and air pollution. 

But Judge Mary Ann Hughes disagreed.

"We applaud the court's decision which will allow this important project to continue to move forward," a spokesman for the Economic Development Corp. said. “FreshDirect’s expansion in the South Bronx will create and retain nearly 3,000 jobs.”

Fresh Direct, currently based in Long Island City, purchases produce, meat and dairy from over 60 New York State-based farms and serves a customer base of over 100,000 people with 97 percent of their employees coming from New York City.   

The company will build a new 500,000 square foot facility on a 16-acre parcel at Harlem River Yards in the Bronx, creating approximately 685 construction jobs. 

Fresh Direct plans to purchase 10 electric refrigerated electric trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles, and five additional electric refrigeration units that can be placed on existing trucks.

Smith Electric has announced plans to build a clean technology manufacturing facility in the South Bronx that will create more than 100 construction jobs.  [See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 16, 2011]

Additionally, CSX is planning construction of a rail spur to connect the new facility to its operations in the Harlem River Yards. 

From its new headquarters, the company will expand its service area to regions surrounding New York City, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, via the new railroad link.

FedEx, New York Post and Waste Management presently operate facilities within the rail terminal complex.

Fresh Direct has exceeded the growth projections outlined in the assistance package that was approved by NYCIDA in 1999 to incentivize then start-up Fresh Direct to invest approximately $51 million to purchase and renovate a 190,000 square foot facility in Long Island City. Now, Fresh Direct has 1,963 full-time equivalent employees and by summer 2021, expects to have 2,927 full-time equivalent employees.

FreshDirect had threatened to relocate its operational hub and headquarters to New Jersey.

To encourage Fresh Direct to retain and expand their operations in New York City, a package of state and city incentives valued at nearly $130 million is being provided to augment the company's private investment.

Fresh Direct expects operations at their new expanded facility to commence in 2015.