Tag Archives: New York Post

South Bronx Residents File Suit to Stop FreshDirect’s Move

South Bronx Residents File Suit to Stop FreshDirect’s Move
Seek Comprehensive Analysis of FreshDirect’s Affect on Health, Environmental and Quality of Life
Bronx, NY, June 13, 2012 – Residents and community organizations from the South Bronx filed suit today at Bronx Supreme Court aiming to halt FreshDirect’s move to public waterfront land at the Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx, a relocation that would use $130M of public money.
The lawsuit seeks to compel defendants to conduct a comprehensive analysis of how FreshDirect’s move would adversely affect the environmental health and quality of life of South Bronx residents, as is required by law. The move would, among other things, add thousands of diesel truck and car trips every day to a community that is already over-polluted and that has very high rates of asthma and other negative health conditions associated with exposure to pollution. 
In addition, the plot of land FreshDirect wants to occupy is across the street from a 420-unit apartment complex and adjacent to hundreds of additional residential units and small businesses, developed in response to successful rezoning efforts over the last fifteen years.
The cumulative effects of the proposed FreshDirect move would be devastating. The Harlem River Yards already house a 5,000 ton-per-day waste transfer station, as well as enormous hubs for FedEx and the New York Post, and a fossil fuel power plant. This despite the fact that the land is owned by the State and as such, supposed to be used to the benefit of the public.
“We are not New York’s dumping ground,” said resident Mychal Johnson, who serves on Community Board 1. “Our asthma rates are at five times the national average. We need jobs, but we also need to breathe.”
Defendants, including New York City Industrial Development Agency, New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York State Department of Transportation, Empire State Development Corporation, Harlem River Yard Ventures, UTF Trucking, and FreshDirect, failed to hold a public hearing before announcing the move and failed to discuss the proposed 500,000 square-foot project with the local Community Board.
“Enough is enough,” said Harry Bubbins, Director of Friends of Brook Park, “we have too much pollution here. We need what other communities have: green space, waterfront access, mixed use development with affordable housing, local commercial enterprises, and green jobs.”
South Bronx residents and community organizations, including La Peña del Bronx, Pueblo en Marcha, Friends of Brook Park, and South Bronx Unite, have joined together to file this lawsuit with representation from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and pro bono co-counsel Schindler, Cohen & Hochman, LLP.
“The Fresh Direct project has been improperly forced upon the South Bronx.  The City excluded the community from its decision-making processes and systematically understated the Project’s environmental impacts in an effort to avoid public scrutiny of the harms this project will create,” said Christina Giorgio, attorney, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “This is unacceptable and irresponsible for a project that would add at least 3,000 cars and diesel trucks every day into a community already plagued by asthma and high pollution.”
“None of those involved with this plan live here,” said resident Monxo Lopez, “our neighborhood is energized and taking charge of its own development and destiny.”
In addition to the lawsuit, City Council Member Mark-Viverito, City Council Member Arroyo, State Senator Serrano and U.S. Congressman Serrano have joined local residents and called for a moratorium on all new development, including FreshDirect, until an analysis is undertaken of the current uses of the land on which FreshDirect proposes to move and the effects such uses have on the community.
About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals. NYLPI’s partnership with the private bar strengthens its advocacy and connects community groups and nonprofits with critical legal assistance. NYLPI is the recipient of the 2010 New York Times Awards for Nonprofit Excellence.
About South Bronx Unite
South Bronx Unite is a coalition of South Bronx residents, organizations, and allies.

Follow us at www.southbronxunite.com

Joint letter with Counselmembers Mark-Viverito and Arroyo – Harlem River Rail Yard Letter to NYSDOT


Because of all the hard work by all of us in so many ways, we have just received a joint letter from New York City Councilwomen Maria Del Carmen Arroyo and Melissa Mark Viverito to the NYSDOT asking for and audit of the lease to the Galesi Group’s for the Harlem River Rail Yards and a moratorium on all present development until a revue can be completed.

See the letter here:

FreshDirect chose the MOST EXPENSIVE option!

Unbelievable!  FreshDirect not only identified and has the ability to stay and expand in Long Island City, a move to the Bronx represents the highest cost option!

“To meet its long-term space requirements, Fresh Direct has identified three primary options:

Long lsland CityFresh Direct has identified a lot adjacent to its Borden Avenue facility which the Company could purchase and develop. The lot would accommodate a new 96,000 square foot expansion facility, which, combined with the extension of one or more of its recently leased facilities would provide the necessary capacity to accommodate the
planned growth
. While operating from multiple facilities creates inherent inefficiencies,  this option provides for the least amount of business disruption and lowest employee attrition. Further, this option requires the lowest level of capital investment, allowing the Company to deploy those resources to other areas of the business operations.

Harlem River Yards, Bronx: The Company is considering a green site in the Bronx for the construction of a new 325,000 square foot facility, plus additional mezzanine space. Under this scenario Fresh Direct would consolidate all of its Long Island City  operations into the new Bronx facility. While new construction on this site represents the
highest cost option, requiring significant upfront capital
, it achieves two of Fresh Direct’s primary occupancy objectives by delivering highly efficient operating space with limited business disruption and employee attrition.

Secaucus Road, Jersey City: Fresh Direct also is considering a new construction project in New Jersey. The Company has narrowed its search to a single site facility on Secaucus Road in Jersey, where it would construct a new facility of approximately 400,000 square feet.  As with the Bronx option, the full Long Island City operations
would be relocated and consolidated into this new facility. While this option achieves the desired operational efficiencies, it results in the highest level business disruption and employee attrition, and requires significant upfront capital investment.

South Bronx Unite in the News

In the last week we’ve made quite the splash! We will continue to Unite as a community to let our voices be heard. 

New York Times: In Bronx, FreshDirect and Land of Great Promises
Michael Powell – February 20, 2012
Bronx TimesMott Haven residents rally over relocation of Fresh Direct headquarters
Kirsten Sanchez – February 20, 2012
The Riverdale PressUnder the wire
Adam Wisnieski – February 15, 2012
Crain’sDid FreshDirect deserve more than $100M in tax breaks and subsidies?
February 15, 2012 (69% say no)
WNYCLiu Questions $100M Fresh Direct Subsidy
February 15, 2012 – 10:32 AM
New York Times: Criticism of FreshDirect Deal Is Off Base, City Officials Say
Charles V. Bagli – February 14, 2012
NY Daily NewsAn $83M ‘Direct’ deposit
Daniel Beekman – February 14, 2012
El DiarioProtestarán contra instalación de Fresh Direct en El Bronx
Jose Acosta – 2012-02-14
NBC New YorkSome Opposed to FreshDirect’s Planned Move to Bronx
Feb 14, 2012
The Village VoiceCity Panel Votes to Approve $128 Million FreshDirect Payoff (liveblog)
Neil deMause – Tue., Feb. 14 2012
Mott Haven HeraldCity approves FreshDirect subsidies
Joe Hirsch – 14. Feb, 2012
DNAinfo New YorkCity To Vote on Fresh Direct Deal Tuesday, Despite Pleas to Delay Decision Patrick Wall – February 14, 2012
GothamistFresh Direct’s Sweet Gov’t Subsidies Sicken Some In The Bronx
February 13, 2012
The Village VoiceSome People Are Not Happy With FreshDirect’s Move to the Bronx
Sam Levin – Mon., Feb. 13 2012
Crain’s New YorkOpposition to FreshDirect subsidy deal mounts
The New York ObserverFight Over FreshDirect Facility Continues
Hunter Walker – 2/13
News 12Protesters take to the Web against Fresh Direct
Feb 13, 2012
Mott Haven HeraldMott Havenites say ‘no deal’ to FreshDirect
Amora McDaniel – 10 Feb 2012
DNAinfo New YorkFresh Direct Deal Blasted by South Bronx Residents and Activists
Patrick Wall – February 9, 2012
New York PostDeal with the devil: Tax breaks with strings
Nicole Gelinas – February 9, 2012
Daily NewsBronx residents to weigh in on new Fresh Direct HQ
Daniel Beekman – February 08, 2012
News 12Plan to open Fresh Direct HQ in Bronx causes stir
Feb 8, 2012
NY1Bronx Residents Speak Out Against New FreshDirect Headquarters