Financing & Incentives

Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH)

FRESH promotes the establishment and expansion of neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities by providing zoning and financial incentives to eligible grocery store operators and developers.

Initiative Overview

The FRESH program is an interagency effort catalyzed by the “Going to Market Study” which shows that many low-income areas across the city were underserved by full-line neighborhood grocery stores. The resulting lack of nutritious, affordable, and fresh food in these neighborhoods has been linked to higher rates of diet-related diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Twenty-three FRESH projects have been approved since launching; six of which have been approved for zoning benefits and eighteen for financial benefits. Eleven stores have completed their construction and are open to the public. These supermarkets are expected to provide approximately 660,000 square feet of new or renovated space, are estimated to retain more than 600 jobs and create over 1600 new jobs, and represent an investment of approximately $100 million across the City.

Eligibility Requirements

The FRESH program is open to grocery store operators renovating existing retail space or developers seeking to construct or renovate retail space that will be leased by a full-line grocery store operator. Stores that benefit from the program must be located in an eligible area and must provide:

  • A minimum of 6,000 square feet of retail space for a general line of food and nonfood grocery products intended for home preparation, consumption, and utilization;
  • At least 50% of retail space for a general line of food products intended for home preparation, consumption, and utilization;
  • At least 30% of retail space for perishable goods that may include dairy, fresh produce, fresh meats, poultry, fish, and frozen foods; and
  • At least 500 square feet of retail space for fresh produce.

FRESH-Eligible Areas

FRESH benefits are available to stores within the designated FRESH-eligible areas, shown below. Tax incentives are discretionary and eligibility will be assessed on a per-case basis.

FRESH Eligibility Map 2016

Please visit www.nyc.gov/fresh to see a list of current projects. 

Fresh Financial Incentives

The following financial incentives are available to eligible grocery store operators and developers through the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA).

All NYCIDA benefits are discretionary. Companies requesting assistance from the NYCIDA will be evaluated by NYCIDA staff individually to determine specific eligibility. All benefits are, by statute, subject to the approval of the NYCIDA’s Board of Directors. Companies must request NYCIDA assistance prior to entering into any property lease, acquisition or renovation contract unless such contracts are contingent upon NYCIDA assistance. To learn more about the NYCIDA, including the NYCIDA/FRESH the application process, please visit http://www.nycedc.com/nycida.

Real Estate Tax Reductions

Land Taxes
  • Abatement equal to $500 multiplied by each full-time employee or part-time equivalent at time of application may be abated for twenty-five years, or abatement equal to full value of land tax for project sites located within Empire and Empowerment Zones
  • A phase-out of the benefit begins in year twenty-two and continues through year twenty-five at 20% each year
  • In year twenty-six, land taxes increase to full amount
Building Taxes
  • Stabilization of building taxes based on pre-improvement assessed value for twenty-five years
  • A phase-out of the benefit begins in year twenty-two and continues through year twenty-five at 20% each year
  • In year twenty-six, building taxes increase to full amount

Sales Tax Exemption

An exemption from the 8.875% sales tax on materials to construct, renovate or equip facilities.

Mortgage Recording Tax Deferral

A one-time deferral of mortgage recording tax relating to the project's financing, equal to 2.05% of the mortgage amount for mortgages of $500,000 or less, and 2.80% for mortgages greater than $500,000.

Fresh Zoning Incentives

The following zoning incentives are available to eligible grocery store developers through the New York City Department of City Planning:

Additional Development Rights

1 additional square foot of floor area in mixed residential development and commercial buildings for every square foot provided for a grocery store, up to a 20,000-square-foot limit.

Reduction in Required Parking

  • Stores up to 40,000 square feet in commercial districts that permit residential buildings with ground floor retail will not be required to provide parking
  • First 15,000 square feet exempt from parking in other Commercial and Light Manufacturing districts

Larger As-Of-Right Stores in Light Manufacturing Districts

Grocery stores up to 30,000 square feet permitted in M1 districts.

Other Tools and Services

NYSERDA Energy Efficiency Benefits

Grocery store operators and developers can independently access energy efficiency benefits through programs offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Such programs include:

NYC Business Acceleration (NYCBA)

NYC Business Acceleration (NYCBA) is a free service to help entrepreneurs and business owners navigate licenses and permits required to open their establishments. NYCBA will make it easier and faster for you to start, operate or expand your business. Client managers are available to provide one-on-one support and guidance to help businesses comply with City requirements and help accelerate your launch. Professionals from multiple City agencies are located at NYCBA to enable streamlined plan examination, consultations, and inspections. NYCBA can also coordinate services and inspections from other agencies. For more information about NYCBA please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/nbat.   

News & Updates

Contact Info

For additional program details, eligibility requirements, and application information please email fresh@nycedc.com.