Yesterday the city approved a hefty government subsidy plan for the controversial Bronx move by grocery delivery company FreshDirect. The city Industrial Development Agency voted to give $87 million in subsidies for the move, which would relocate the company's headquarters from Long Island City to a waterfront property in the Port Morris section of the Bronx. The government subsidies could reach as high as $128 million with tax breaks, grants and loans if the state jumps on board as well.
In order to get these sweet government handouts, the company promised that 1/3 of their proposed 1,000 new employees would come from the Bronx and also agreed to begin delivery in the borough and accept food stamps. But critics argue this isn't enough, citing added truck pollution to a borough already thick with air pollution, restricted waterfront access for locals and impact on local businesses. Comptroller and mayoral hopeful John Liu was the only person to vote "no" to the subsidy, which he derided for being "a wasteful way to do business that picks taxpayers' pockets in order to reward fat cats."
Despite the opposition and attempted lawsuits, plans are basically full steam ahead for the Harlem River Yard conversion. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was pleased with the outcome of the vote, citing "continued expansion of positive economic development in the Bronx" as a reason to welcome the move. The plan now moves to the mayor's office so hizzoner can give his stamp of approval, or nail in the coffin, depending on your opinion.