THE BRONX - FreshDirect has received major financial backing toward its controversial move to the South Bronx.
The Industrial Development Agency voted in favor of $127 million in subsidies, paving the way for the online grocer to officially call the Harlem River Yard in Mott Haven its new home.
South Bronx United, a longtime opponent of FreshDirect, rallied at the meeting in lower Manhattan. It's already filed a lawsuit challenging grants and subsidies that would allow the company to build the new headquarters, arguing that it will increase truck traffic and raise asthma rates in the neighborhood.
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New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Good Jobs New York, and City Comptroller John C. Liu all joined the group for a press conference criticizing the multimillion-dollar deal.
FreshDirect has meanwhile vowed to acquire green vehicles, hire 30 percent of its workforce from the borough and invest in the local economy.
"Our proposed move to the Bronx has earned a good housekeeping seal of approval from numerous local civic leaders, a Community Board, the City Planning Commission, and now the City IDA," said FreshDirect co-founder and CEO Jason Ackerman. "With each approval, we are getting closer and closer to achieving our goal of bringing thousands of good jobs to an area of the city that needs them most."
Ackerman also said that the city's partnership has been instrumental in helping FreshDirect remain a New York City-based company that provides good jobs for the residents of the five boroughs.
There are still a few hurdles left for the food distributor, but it plans to make the big move in 2015.