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New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) this week approved two tax incentive packages to assist in the development of two new supermarkets in the Bronx — the first projects to be given the go-ahead under the Fresh Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program, which funds grocery stores in so-called “food deserts.” NYCIDA approved about $3 million in real estate and tax for a Foodtown store, and nearly $5.6 million for a Western Beef location.
Foodtown will invest around $3.7 million to build a ground-up 11,000-square-foot supermarket in the Norwood section to replace a store that burned down in December. Western Beef will spend about $11.5 million on a 35,000-square-foot supermarket with a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and 33,000 square feet of parking in the Tremont section to replace a smaller Western Beef market close by. The two stores will retain 90 existing jobs and create about 65 new ones, enabling the operators to expand, enhance their product lines and boost operating efficiency.
Foodtown plans to enter into a long-term lease for a site at 283 East 204th Street on which it will construct its store. Western Beef intends to acquire a 65,000-square-foot building at 2050 Webster Avenue to build its location. Ownership of the new site, which is about 10,000 square feet larger than the existing store, will enable the grocer to provide space for such new features as a bakery with a brick oven and a full-service deli. Western Beef will additionally install energy-efficient equipment and HVAC systems, as well as making use of green building materials to lower its energy consumption.
“Through the FRESH program, the Bloomberg Administration is striving to provide healthy food options, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to all New Yorkers,” noted NYCIDA chairman Seth W. Pinsky. “Over the years, NYCIDA has been responsible for helping hundreds of industrial businesses and not-for-profit organizations to grow in the five boroughs. Now, thanks to the FRESH program, we have the opportunity to help ensure that all New Yorkers have the food choices that for too long have been lacking in certain neighborhoods.”
Christine C. Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council, characterized FRESH as “one of our most innovative efforts, using zoning and financing incentives to help bring grocery stores to underserved communities.” The program was developed not only to expand the availability of fresh foods in such areas, but also to reduce the occurrence of diet-related health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
In 2006, Bloomberg and Quinn created the Food Policy Task Force, with the aim of making nutritious, affordable food in available in food deserts, enhancing the nutritional standards followed by city agencies in feeding clients, and improving access to food-support programs. The administration’s food policy agenda currently includes the implementation of nutrition standards for 225 million snacks and meals served by city agencies, in addition to the introduction of the Green Carts and FRESH programs.
Family-owned P.S.K. Supermarkets, LLC, the Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based parent company of Footown, operates 13 supermarkets in New York state, eight of which are in New York City. Maspeth, N.Y.-based Cactus Holdings, Inc. operates 22 Western Beef stores and five Juniors Food Outlet locations. Its stores are mainly in the five New York City boroughs, with additional united in Westchester County, Long Island, New Jersey and Florida.
Administered by the New York City Economic Development Corp., NYCIDA provides financing assistance to businesses, including small industrial and manufacturing companies and not-for-profit organizations.