On Thursday, a panel of appellate judges dismissed a lawsuit against FreshDirect that attempted to stop the online grocer from moving from Long Island City to the South Bronx. Among living wage stipulations, one of the key components of the lawsuit was the fact that the move was predicated on a dated, 21-year-old environmental impact statement. The suit also challenged FreshDirect's $130 million in city subsidies.
"This is a disappointing reinforcement of the tale of two cities," said South Bronx Unite member Mychal Johnson. "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. We say it is not."
Welcome2theBronx points out that in the 21 years since the EIS was first commissioned, Port Morris and the surrounding area have undergone extensive rezoning, from manufacturing/industrial to mostly residential. Coupled with the fact that the FreshDirect site is directly adjacent to the much-heralded Harlem River waterfront redevelopment plan, Ed García Conde of Welcome2theBronx questions the logic of the trucking operation's placement.
Nevertheless, FreshDirect CEO and co-founder Jason Ackerman remains optimistic.
"The courts have now said on multiple occasions that we can move forward with our move to the Bronx," he said. "Our focus now turns to building our facility and making good on the promise of creating jobs and economic activity in the Bronx."
· "The South Bronx Deserves Better Than a 21-Year-Old Environmental Impact Statement" [W2B]
· "FreshDirect bags victory in push to move to the Bronx" [NYDN]
· "Appellate Decision on FreshDirect | Reinforcing the Tale of Two Cities" [SBU]
· All FreshDirect coverage [Curbed]