Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., today announced that Fresh Direct, a leading fresh food internet grocer, will 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 facility will also result in the creation of approximately 684 construction jobs in the city and an overall economic impact to the city of nearly $255 million.
“Making sure that companies like Fresh Direct can grow and invest in New York City is a key part of our strategy to rebuild and diversify our economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “A thousand new jobs at the Harlem River Yards is great news for the Bronx and a welcome boost to our city’s economy.”
“Fresh Direct is a home-grown success that will now continue to grow and create jobs in New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “Creating almost a thousand new jobs is a real victory for the Bronx and a clear sign that leading New York companies see this state as the place to start, stay and strengthen their businesses.”
“I welcome Fresh Direct to the Bronx with open arms,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said. “This iconic company will not only stay in New York where it belongs thanks to this deal, they will bring 1,000 new jobs with them to our borough. More and more companies are discovering that the Bronx is a great place to do business, and Fresh Direct’s move to our borough is a major positive step forward for our economy.”
Fresh Direct Chief Executive Officer Jason Ackerman said, “From day one, New York has been our home, and we are grateful for the support of Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg in making New York a place Fresh Direct wants to stay and grow in, and for Bronx Borough President Diaz welcoming us. With significant growth in our customer base, we need to expand our operations. A new state-of-the-art facility at the Harlem River Yard in the Bronx would allow us to operate more efficiently, maintain our relationships with NYS vendors, local farmers and purveyors and continue our long track record of growth and job creation in New York.”
Fresh Direct, founded in 1999 and currently based in Long Island City, Queens, 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 State. To meet the needs of its rapidly growing customer base, Fresh Direct will invest $112.6 million to construct a state-of-the-art 500,000 square foot facility on a 16-acre parcel at Harlem River Yards in the Bronx. From its new headquarters and operations, the company will dramatically expand its service area to regions surrounding New York City, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Philadelphia.
To encourage Fresh Direct to retain and expand their operations in New York City, a package of state and city incentives valued at over $100 million is being provided to augment the company’s private investment including:
New York State:
- $18.9 million in Excelsior tax credits (ESD)
- $9 million capital grant (ESD)
- $4 million in energy grants and incentives (NYPA/NYSERDA)
- $1 million loan (ESD)
- Up to $1 million in vouchers for the purchase of electric vehicles (NYSERDA)
New York City:
Approximately $74 million in sales tax exemptions, mortgage recording tax deferral, and real estate tax exemptions pending approval (NYCIDA)
- $9.5 million to acquire assets to be used at the new facility at Harlem River Rail Yards pending approval (NYCIDA)
- $4.9 million in energy benefits (NYCEDC)
- $1 million loan (NYCEDC)
- Bronx Borough President:
- $1 million capital grant
Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation:
- $3 million loan
- $500,000 capital grant
Fresh Direct has far 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. Fresh Direct expects operations at their new expanded facility to commence in 2015.
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 is a leader in zero-emission, all-electric commercial vehicles, which--with assistance provided by New York City and State--recently announced plans to establish a clean technology manufacturing facility in the South Bronx that will create more than 100 new direct jobs.
“Fresh Direct’s decision to expand in the Bronx is a strong statement of confidence in New York City's future,” said Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel. “Today’s announcement is the latest sign that more and more businesses want to be in New York City.”
“Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, a true New York success story is staying in New York,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “This is another strong signal of how the Governor’s efforts to create a better business environment are paying off in the form of more jobs for New Yorkers.”
“While New York City is the home to some of the most innovative companies in the world, there are few that have impacted the daily habits of New Yorkers like Fresh Direct,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Over the next decade, this project will lead to significant investment in the South Bronx, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in overall economic activity, and ensuring that this hometown success story is able to continue its tremendous growth right here in the five boroughs where it belongs.”
“Fresh Direct’s move to the Bronx will bring much needed jobs to the borough, along with additional business opportunities here and across the region for companies of all types,” said Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation President Marlene Cintron. “I look forward to working with them to expand the borough’s economy for years to come.”