The Real Deal New York

Catsimatidis joins other supermarket execs to protest likely Fresh Direct subsidies

November 14, 2012 11:00AM

Supermarket executives, including Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis, plan a rally today at City Hall to protest a $130 million public subsidy that Fresh Direct is likely to receive from the city, the New York Daily News reported. The city tax breaks and grants will be used for the online grocer to build its new headquarters in the Bronx.

According to DNAinfo, Catsimatidis has joined forces with the New York Association of Grocery Stores, the National Supermarket Association and the Bodega Association, and has argued that Fresh Direct should not be made eligible for the subsidies.

“I am opposed to using my tax money, and the money of all the smaller and struggling food retailers in NYC, to fund a competitor,” Catsimatidis told DNAinfo in a statement. In a separate interview, he told DNAinfo, “In 42 years in business, I have not received one incentive.”

However, Fresh Direct maintains that their Bronx move will create jobs around the Harlem River Rail Yards, where the grocer will set up its main base. “We are investing $112 million in the Bronx and working to hire people from the area,” Fresh Direct told DNAinfo in a statement.

Moreover, Fresh Direct said that real estate tax abatements, not city subsidies, will comprise 58 percent of the relocation package. Fresh Direct itself will shell out 78 percent of costs on its own for the Bronx base. [NYDN] and [DNAinfo]Zachary Kussin