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NYCIDA Approves Assistance for Rockaway Supermarket Devastated by Hurricane Sandy

Key Food at 105-38 Rockaway Beach Blvd in the Rockaways Has Been Closed Since Hurricane 

Assistance Through NYCIDA’s FRESH Program Will Help With Immediate Repairs to Reopen 

Assistance Will Lead to Renovation and Improvement of Existing Supermarket, and Expanded Produce Section

New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) today approved assistance through its Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Program for repairs to a supermarket in the Rockaways that suffered significant damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The Key Food supermarket, operated by the Rock Beach Food Corp., has been closed since the storm, affecting Rockaway residents dealing with closures of grocery stores across the area. Through the assistance provided by NYCIDA, Rock Beach Food Corp will be able to immediately repair and renovate their existing facility, including undertaking renovations to the building, improving the interior of the store, and expanding their produce section. The project is expected to generate $2.8 million in tax revenue for the City and assist in the recovery of an area in the City that was hit particularly hard by the storm in October.

“We are pleased to have offered critical assistance through the FRESH program to help this Rockaways business to get up and running once again,” said NYCIDA Chairman Seth W. Pinsky. “Not only will this project generate millions in additional tax revenues for the City, but it will also provide nutritious and affordable food to this currently-underserved community, representing another step forward in the area’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy.”

“I know firsthand the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy to the Rockaways and the need to get our supermarkets back online in that area,” said Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall.  “The proposed IDA incentives through the FRESH program will assist the supermarket to open and accelerate the restoration of access to supermarkets in the area.”

Rock Beach Food Corp has operated this Key Food supermarket at 105-38 Rockaway Beach Blvd, in Rockaway Park, Queens since 2005. The store was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and has been closed since the storm. Through a package of NYCIDA’s incentives approved today, the 12,000 square foot store will able to move forward on predevelopment work necessary to undertake the $2.15 million renovation project to reopen its existing space.

This project is part of a continued effort to rebuild New York City areas that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. In January, NYCIDA also approved assistance to the Madelaine Chocolate Company, the largest employer in the Rockaways, after the tidal surge severely damaged their facilities, including the majority of manufacturing equipment and the company’s inventory. NYCIDA also established the HESTEP program in November 2012 to provide emergency assistance to impacted businesses by providing sales tax exemptions of up to $100,000 for purchases related to replacement of equipment or reconstruction of facilities impacted by the storm. Impacted businesses can submit their applications for HESTEP assistance on or before April 1, 2013.

This project joins the growing list of FRESH projects that have been approved throughout New York City since 2009, representing an investment of over $40 million across the five boroughs. The FRESH initiative was established by the City in 2009 in partnership with the City Council, and in response to a study by the Departments of City Planning and Health and Mental Hygiene which showed that many low-income areas across the city are underserved by neighborhood grocery stores. The resulting lack of nutritious, affordable, fresh food in the underserved neighborhoods has been linked to higher rates of diet-related diseases, including diabetes and obesity. Supermarket owners and operators have found it difficult to finance new projects in New York City because of high land costs. The program incentivizes the creation and retention of supermarkets by providing zoning and financial incentives to eligible grocery store operators and developers.


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.


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Nick Kelly