Today’s news:

Fresh Direct plans to open new facility on Harlem River Yard lots

Bronx Times

A large real estate offering on Bruckner Boulevard between the Third Avenue and Willis Avenue bridges, which was originally thought to be used for more residential development, will now become the new headquarters and operations center for Fresh Direct.

Fresh Direct, a leading fresh food internet grocer, founded in 1999 and currently based in Long Island City, Queens, purchases produce, meat and dairy from over 60 New York State-based farms and serves a customer base of over 100,000 people with 97 percent of their employees coming from New York state.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that the company will invest $112.6 million to build its new headquarters, retaining nearly 2,000 existing jobs and creating almost 1,000 new jobs. The construction of the new facility will also result in the creation of approximately 684 construction jobs in the city and an overall economic impact to the city of nearly $255 million.

The new 500,000 square foot facility, which will sit on a 16-acre parcel at the Harlem River Yards, is part of a swatch of land that was rezoned from industrial land use to allow for residential construction within the past 15 years. Many of the re-zoned areas have become home to high rise apartment buildings.

From its new headquarters and operations, the company will expand its service area to regions surrounding New York City, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Philadelphia.

Mayor Bloomberg said it is important to have companies like Fresh Direct investing in the state.

“Making sure that companies like Fresh Direct can grow and invest in New York City is a key part of our strategy to rebuild and diversify our economy,” Bloomberg said. “A thousand new jobs at the Harlem River Yards is great news for the Bronx and a welcome boost to our city’s economy.”

Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., said he welcomes Fresh Direct into the Bronx with open arms.

“This iconic company will not only stay in New York where it belongs,” Daiz, Jr., said. “but more and more companies are discovering that the Bronx is a great place to do business, and Fresh Direct’s move to our borough is a major positive step forward for our economy.”

Fresh Direct chief executive officer Jason Ackerman said he is grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo for their support in making New York a place for Fresh Direct to want to stay and grow in.

“With significant growth in our customer base, we need to expand our operations,” Ackerman said. “A new state-of-the-art facility at the Harlem River Yard in the Bronx would allow us to operate more efficiently, maintain our relationships with New York state vendors, local farmers and continue our long track record or growth and job creation in New York.”

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