Tag Archives: FreshDirect

FreshDirect selling mega LIC facility ahead of Bronx move

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield

As online grocer FreshDirect is getting ready to pack up and exit Long Island City, the company is listing its massive Queens waterfront facility for sale.

FreshDirect has hired Cushman & Wakefield to sell its facility at 23-30 Borden Ave. ahead of its move to the South Bronx, which was approved last year.

The grocer bought the facility in 1999 and is hoping to sell and then lease back the property from the new owners for about a year while it begins to wind down operations in Queens.

The manufacturing and storage complex is in high demand because of recent trends in city real estate, according to Bob Knakal, chairman of New York Investment Sales for Cushman & Wakefield, who is heading marketing for the property with David Chkheidze.

“In recent years, the progression of the New York City real estate market has exerted upward pressure on the value of repositioning the city’s once-thriving industrial, warehouse and manufacturing properties,” Knakal said. “As a result, the demand for this product type has never been greater and continues to attract the attention of a rapidly transforming distribution industry.”

The building has about 276,705 square feet of space and 406,552 buildable square feet under current zoning regulations.


Delivered: FedEx to move to L.I.C.

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy FedEx

FedEx has found new “ground” in Long Island City.

The shipping giant is planning to close its current Maspeth facility and open a new, 14,000-square-foot FedEx Ground distribution center on Borden Avenue in L.I.C. The center, expected to be completed in the spring of 2013, will cost roughly $56 million — including land, construction and material-handling equipment.

FedEx’s investment is being planned at the same time the reportedly cash-strapped United States Postal Service announced the closure of its College Point mail sorting facility. The station will also move on to the same block FreshDirect currently inhabits — until the online grocer bolts to the Bronx in 2015.

According to FedEx Ground spokesperson David Westrick, the facility will be larger and contain more automated package sorting systems than the existing station, allowing the company to better serve the area. Westrick also said all positions will transfer over to the modernized center, which is part of the company’s plan to expand its business-to-business shipping sector.

FedEx has opened 11 new distribution centers since 2005 and has accelerated ground service by one or more days to over half the country, according to Westrick.

“The new facility is part of a nationwide network expansion to boost daily package volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network,” Westrick said.

The project will be developed by the North Carolina-based SunCap Property Group LLC, which will own the facility through a joint venture with Lexington Realty Trust, and lease it to FedEx. The construction of the building will be left to Aurora Contractors Inc., located in Ronkonkoma, New York.

Westrick says L.I.C. attracted FedEx as a premier location for the facility due to a wide spectrum of reasons.

“The site was chosen because of its ease of access to major highways, its proximity to customers’ distribution centers and a strong local community workforce for recruiting employees,” he said.

Dan Miner, the senior vice president of business services of the Long Island City Partnership, is happy to “welcome” FedEx to the neighborhood.
“We think L.I.C. is a large and diverse enough community to welcome residential, commercial, artistic and industrial uses,” Miner said. “So the FedEx facility fits in well with L.I.C.’s historical role as a center for industrial employment in New York City. I understand they are bringing a certain number of jobs and will be investing in the facility as well, which are good things.”

While Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is in favor of FedEx’s move, he says he will work with the company to ensure the standard of living for residents is not jeopardized by truck traffic or other changes.

“Keeping jobs in the city is an important piece of this,” said Van Bramer. “I also think there could be some overflow and an increase in customers for some local cafes, restaurants and businesses. We want to work with FedEx to mitigate any concerns on truck traffic, but we are pleased that more and more major companies, like Jet Blue and FedEx, have chosen to make L.I.C. their homes, further underscoring this incredible renaissance that L.I.C. is having.”

FreshDirect leaving Long Island City for the Bronx

| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

After flirting with a move to New Jersey, a Queens produce supplier has accepted a fresh offer – and will most likely relocate to the Bronx.

FreshDirect, an online fresh food grocer, will uproot from its operations in Long Island City and leave the borough for larger facilities, according to a joint statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on February 7.

The company said it will retain nearly 2,000 existing jobs and create almost 1,000 new jobs when it moves to the location at Harlem River Yards. However, not everyone is thrilled about the move.

Bettina Damiani, project director of Good Jobs New York, a watchdog of the city’s economic development subsidy program, feels the city did not do its diligence in making the negotiations as transparent as possible. She also believes that FreshDirect is turning its back on Queens and is picking cash from taxpayers’ money tree – a tactic she believes it used when the company threatened to move to New Jersey.

“They [the city’s Industrial Development Agency] conducted a cost benefit analysis, but it doesn’t acknowledge that the city already gave FreshDirect subsidies for the spot in L.I.C.,” she said. “Taxpayers already gave. And instead of thanking the taxpayers, they were put over a barrel and were told to give more or [the company] would move to New Jersey. If they wanted to do this solely on their own dime, it wouldn’t be our fight. But they are using taxpayer money.”

FreshDirect contends that the company needs to move to a larger location in order to better serve its growing customer base – and the Bronx offered the best option.

“With significant growth in our customer base, we need to expand our operations,” said FreshDirect chief executive officer Jason Ackerman. “A new state-of-the-art facility at the Harlem River Yard in the Bronx would allow us to operate more efficiently, maintain our relationships with NYS vendors, local farmers and purveyors and continue our long track record of growth and job creation in New York.”

FreshDirect, founded in 1999, purchases produce, meat and dairy from over 60 New York State-based farms and serves a customer base of over 100,000 people with 97 percent of their employees coming from New York State.

To convince the company to stay in the city, a package of state and city incentives valued at over $100 million is being provided to augment the company’s private investment of $112.6 million.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, who represents a portion of western Queens, said that he was disappointed to hear the company is leaving L.I.C., but he’s glad that they decided to stay in the city. “It’s a testament to their success that they’ve outgrown the space in L.I.C.,” he said. “We certainly hope that no one will lose their jobs over this, and we do plan to fill the space vacated by FreshDirect with another job creator.”

Before the move is confirmed, a public hearing will be held at the New York City Industrial Development Agency on Thursday, February 9 at 10 a.m.