In 2012, the former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, offered millions of dollars in tax subsidies and incentives to FreshDirect so they could build a new headquarters in the South Bronx waterfront. South Bronx Unite (SBU) is a coalition of South Bronx residents and allies that have brought a multitude of legal obstacles to the FreshDirect development. The community organization contends that the new construction will disrupt the growing residential neighborhood that already has a history of environmental and health challenges.
FreshDirect is known for transporting groceries to your door and currently delivers to Philadelphia, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. FreshDirect has outgrown its Queens location, and New York-elected officials have offered significant tax breaks to the company in hopes that they would stay in New York, instead of relocating to New Jersey. The company would like to build a new 500,000-square-foot waterfront plant, one that (they believe) will create 1,000 new jobs over the next ten years, and shift 2,000 jobs from its location in Long Island City, to the new South Bronx location. FreshDirect will also be transferring its trucks to a fleet of environmentally safe vehicles.
South Bronx Unite is leading the opposition against the development. SBU has rallied over 50 organizations and recently received the 2014 Environmental Justice Award for its work to preserve the South Bronx waterfront. SBU claims FreshDirect was improperly allowed to lease state-owned land that was intended originally to promote rail use, a strategy to reduce traffic congestion in the Bronx. This is a great example of community activism at its best.