The Real Deal New York

Bronx community groups take FreshDirect to court over move

March 05, 2013 11:30AM

After months of protesting FreshDirect’s move to the Bronx, a coalition of residents and community groups is suing New York City officials for systematically understating the problems that the online grocer will cause in their neighborhoods.

South Bronx Unite, the name of the coalition, ultimately hopes to block FreshDirect’s move to the Harlem River Yard. Besides the increased traffic and other negative effects on the area, the coalition opposes the $127.8 million package of cash and tax breaks that the city is giving FreshDirect to keep it from moving to New Jersey. One outspoken opponent is FreshDirect competitor John Catsimatidis, who owns the Gristedes food stores.

“There are very real and very significant concerns that have been given short shrift,” Gavin Kearney, a lawyer for South Bronx Unite, told Judge Mary Ann Brigantti-Hughes in oral arguments yesterday.

FreshDirect argues that the move would not even require a zoning change and that it has factored employee growth into its traffic estimates.

“We look forward to getting past this final hurdle so we can move forward with making the South Bronx our new home and creating 1,000 new jobs along the way,” FreshDirect CEO Jason Ackerman said in a statement. [NYT]Christopher Cameron