The Real Deal New York

Rep. refuses to endorse subsidy for FreshDirect’s Bronx move

Bronx congressman Jose Serrano will not sign off on $3.5M for the grocer
December 20, 2013 04:15PM

Grocer FreshDirect’s bid to relocate to the Bronx’s Harlem River Yards from Long Island City is in jeopardy after a Bronx congressman announced he was opposing a $3.5 million public subsidy that would enable the move.

To receive the funding, FreshDirect requires the unanimous approval of the New York Empowerment Zone Board, which incentivizes private companies investing in poorer neighborhoods. But the grocer pulled its application for funding after Representative Jose Serrano said Wednesday that he would vote against it.

“I, along with several other elected officials and many community residents, have had deep misgivings about this project because of its impact on the health of Bronx residents,” Serrano said in a statement seen by DNAinfo.

“Fresh Direct has already received more than $100 million in government subsidies, and when the project was announced, everyone was told that this was sufficient,” Serrano added. “I cannot understand why further government subsidies are now needed.”

FreshDirect spokesperson Peter Ajemian told DNAinfo that the company’s plans have not changed. [DNAinfo]  – Hiten Samtani