Monday, October 19, 2009

ATTENTION: FRESH Program Offers Incentives To Grocery Stores

Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH)

The FRESH program is the first in the country to combine a set of zoning and financial incentives to make it more advantageous to open grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods.

The program is designed to address the resulting lack of nutritious, affordable fresh food in certain neighborhoods, which is an issues that has been linked to health issues such as diabetes and obesity.

The program will encourage new full-line grocery stores– with a fresh fruit and vegetable aisle, dairy and frozen foods, and meat selections– in underserved areas in: Upper Manhattan (Community Districts 9-12), the South Bronx (Community Districts 1-7), Central Brooklyn (Community Districts 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 16 & 17) and the Special Downtown Jamaica Community District in Queens.

Stores that will benefit from the program must meet the following criteria:

-Provide a minimum of 6,000 square feet retail space for a general line of food and nonfood grocery products intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization.
-Provide at least 50% of space for the above products.
-Provide at least 30% of retail space for perishable goods.
-Provide at least 500 square feet of retail space for fresh produce.

The zoning incentives provided under the proposed will:

-An additional square foot of development for every square foot provided for a certified FRESH store, up to 20,000 square feet.
-Reduce the number of parking spaces for certified FRESH food stores; this will reduce cost of developing new stores.
-Permit food stores up to 30,000 square feet in size M1 zoning districts as-of-right cutting the expense and time required for governmental approval.

FRESH food stores may also be eligible for financial incentives through the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) which include:
-Real estate tax abatements.
-Mortgage recording tax waivers.
-Sales tax exemptions on purchase of materials used to construct , renovate and equip grocery stores.
-These incentives are available to new and existing stores.

These zoning changes are going to be considered by the Council at the Zoning and Franchise Subcommittee hearing on Monday October 26th.

Further details are available at:

No comments: