On Monday, online grocer FreshDirect broke ground on its contested 500,000-square-foot facility on East 132nd Street in Mott Haven. The ceremony was attended by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who has been an outspoken proponent of the project since 2012 when Mayor Bloomberg offered the online grocer $128 million in public subsidies to keep the company and its 3,000 jobs in New York rather than see it move from Long Island City to New Jersey. DNAinfo reports that the ceremony was also attended by some 30 protestorsothers report about 100who believe the company's new facility and truck traffic will further compromise the already sub-standard air conditions in the Bronx's infamous "Asthma Alley."
In March, a panel of judges dismissed an appellate lawsuit against the company brought on by activist group South Bronx Unite, who took issue with the move to the borough being predicated on a 21-year-old environmental impact statement. South Bronx Unite member Mychal Johnson took to the group's website to air his grievances, "This is a disappointing reinforcement of the tale of two cities. Today, the courts told us that a 21 year old environmental impact statement is good enough for the people of the South Bronx, who suffer asthma hospitalization rates 21 times that of other New York City neighborhoods." At least one positive for the neighborhood, FreshDirect's expansion is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the borough in the next decade.
The Times reports that the facility will cost over $100 million, and will house the company's corporate headquarters and food manufacturing and distribution facility, DNAinfo reports. It's expected to be complete in 2016.
· FreshDirect Breaks Ground as Protests Denounce the Project [DNAinfo]
· FreshDirect Breaks Ground In the South Bronx, Sparking Protests [NYT]
· Judges Okay FreshDirect Relocation Plan to South Bronx [Curbed]
· All FreshDirect coverage [Curbed]