Franchises & Concessions

The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services oversees and certifies agency compliance with the applicable laws and regulations for franchises and concessions. In certain circumstances, franchises and concessions are also subject to the approval of the Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC).

  • Franchises are grants of the right to occupy or to use the City’s inalienable property, such as streets or parks, for a public service, e.g., transportation or telecommunications.
  • Concessions are grants for the private use of city-owned property such as for food sales or recreational activity, with the City’s compensation typically tied to the concessionaire’s revenue. Concessions are also subject to the City's Concession Rules as codified in Title 12 of the Rules of the City of New York.

The FCRC is comprised of six members: members represent the Mayor, the Law Department, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the City Comptroller, and representatives of the five Borough Presidents who share one vote, which is allocated according to the location of the franchise or concession at issue.

To award a franchise, the FCRC must conduct a hearing and approve the franchise with at least five votes. In Fiscal Year 2014, the FCRC approved four franchise transactions, all of which were information services franchises. The City's 60 existing franchises yielded more than $200 million in revenue, including more than $131 million from cable television and $48 million from street furniture (i.e. bus shelters, and newsstands) during the reporting period.

Concessions, depending on their award method, may or may not require FCRC approval. Those procured by competitive sealed bid never require FCRC approval. In Fiscal Year 2014, the City awarded 125 new concessions and collected nearly $50 million in revenue from operating concessions. The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) made greater than 89% of the awards, representing greater than 99% of the value for citywide anticipated revenue.

Public hearings are held for all "significant" concessions, i.e., those awarded via a method other than competitive sealed bid that either have a term of 10 years or more; projected annual income to the City of more than $100,000 or are considered "major" concessions pursuant to the rules adopted by the City Planning Commission.

Concessions awarded by a “different procedure” (i.e., sole source) require FCRC approval in two separate instances. FCRC approval is first required to commence preliminary negotiations with the proposed concessionaire. Upon the completion of negotiations, FCRC approval is required again for the grant of the concession agreement.