A study conducted for the Mayor's Food Policy Task Force showed that many low-income neighborhoods across the city are underserved by neighborhood grocery stores. The resulting lack of affordable, fresh food in these neighborhoods has been linked to higher rates of diet-related diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In response, the City established the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program.
FRESH incentives are available to grocery store operators and to developers seeking to construct or renovate retail space that will be leased by a full service grocery store operator. Stores that benefit from the program must be located in an eligible area (see map on the FRESH website via the Links to Additional Information) and meet the prerequisites outlined below.
The financial incentives are discretionary and available to eligible grocery store operators and developers through the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA). These incentives include:
Real Estate Tax Reductions
- Land tax abatement for 25 years equal to $500 multiplied by each full-time employee or part-time equivalent at time of application (or the full value of the land tax for projects located within Empire and Empowerment Zones)
- Stabilization of building taxes based on pre-improvement assessed value for 25 years (benefit reduced in years 22 through 25)
- Exemption from the 8.875 percent sales tax on materials to construct, renovate or equip facilities
- Deferral of mortgage recording tax relating to the project's financing, equal to 2.05 percent for mortgages of $500,000 or less, and 2.80 percent for mortgages greater than $500,000
Zoning incentives are provided through the New York City Department of City Planning. Proposed grocery stores located within the FRESH zoning area are eligible as of right. (see map on the FRESH website via the Links to Additional Information for zoning area) These incentives include:
Additional Development Rights
- One additional square foot of residential floor area in mixed-use buildings for every square foot provided for a grocery store, up to a 20,000 square foot limit
- No parking required for grocery stores up to 40,000 square feet in commercial districts that permit residential buildings with ground floor retail
- First 15,000 square feet of grocery retail space exempt from parking in other Commercial and Light Manufacturing districts