Can developers leasing spaces to operators apply for FRESH financial incentives? Do you provide suggested retailer lists?

FRESH financial incentives are effective at tenanting grocery retail space and are open to operators making capital improvements to new or existing retail spaces. The NYCIDA does not provide suggested retailer lists for developers, but rather relies on developers to identify operators appropriate for their objectives. Operators interested in FRESH financial incentives can apply directly to the NYCIDA.

Who manages the FRESH financial incentive and application process?

The FRESH financial incentives application process and financial incentives are directly managed by the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

For more information on the FRESH financial incentives application process, visit http://www.nycedc.com/nycida/application-process

Who manages the FRESH zoning incentive and application process?

All projects seeking FRESH zoning incentives must meet the underlying eligibility requirements of the program.  An application showing that program requirements are being met is required.  This includes a site plan showing the FRESH grocery store and a commitment from a grocery store operator to occupy the designated grocery store space.  The Chair of the City Planning Commission will review the application and certify to the Department of Buildings that the project complies with the program requirements.  Grocery store operators and developers seeking zoning incentives should contact the Department of City Planning to confirm their eligibility and program requirements. 

For more information on the FRESH zoning incentives application process, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/fresh/index.shtml

How do the FRESH incentives work? Is there funding available?

FRESH encompasses two main types of incentives—financial incentives administered by the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) and zoning incentives administered by the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP). FRESH does not include any direct funding, such as grants or loans. 

FRESH financial incentives apply only to the grocery retail portion of a development. They allow eligible operators or developers to access savings through a land tax abatement, building tax stabilization, sales tax exemption, and mortgage recording tax deferral. Eligible projects must be located within, or contiguous to census tracts that are considered “highly distressed,” as defined by Article 18-A of the New York State General Municipal Law.

FRESH zoning incentives allow eligible developers or operators to address land availability and cost barriers by allowing larger as of right stores in M1 districts, reducing parking requirements, and offering additional development rights for mixed use developments.

Are FRESH incentives as of right?

No, the FRESH financial incentives and all N YCIDA incentives are discretionary. Projects are assessed on a per-case basis for eligibility and are subject to a due diligence and background check, public review process, Board of Directors approval, and Mayoral Confirmation. 

FRESH store zoning incentives including floor area exclusions, parking reductions and special permit use waivers are as- of -right.  Projects are subject to a City Planning Commission Chair Zoning Certification. Height Waivers require City Planning Commission Zoning.  All FRESH Zoning applications are referred to the local Community Board for up to a 45 day.

What is the FRESH application process?

The FRESH financial incentives application process follows the same steps as the NYCIDA application process, which includes a preliminary assessment of eligibility, core application, application package, public notice, public hearing, Board of Directors review and vote, Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act ("TEFRA") and Mayoral Confirmation. If the Board approves benefits, the agreement is memorialized in a binding, multi-year contract executed by NYCIDA and the recipient. Contracts are drafted to ensure that recipients meet agreed-upon conditions to maintain benefits. 

Transactions eligible for assistance that have financing commitments can typically complete the application and approval procedures within 90 days or less.

The NYCIDA application process has a non-refundable fee of $5,000 for companies that appear qualified to progress to the application stage. Fees due at closing include, the Agency financing, project counsel and first installment of the annual Agency fees, less the application fee. 

Please visit the NYCIDA website for a list of Board Meetings and Public Hearings and agency fee schedules. 

FRESH zoning incentives application processes include, at minimum, a pre-application meeting, submission of an application (including drawings), a 45 day Community Board review period and City Planning Chair Certification that the project is an eligible FRESH Food Store.  FRESH Projects  requesting additional height must receive approval from the City Planning Commission via the authorization process. 

For project specific inquiries, call the relevant City Planning Borough office and request an informational meeting to discuss the potential FRESH project.  At the meeting, a planner will detail application processes and project approval timeframes.

Information about City Planning Offices can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/about/location.shtml#visit

What should I do if I have questions about FRESH?

Please feel free to email us with any questions at [email protected].