South Bronx Unite Platform


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South Bronx Unite is a coalition of South Bronx residents, organizations, and allies working
together to improve and protect the social, environmental, and economic future of the South
Bronx. South Bronx Unite formed in response to the proposed relocation of Fresh Direct from
Long Island City in Queens to the Harlem River Yard, a 96‐acre Port Morris/Mott Haven
waterfront parcel of public land leased by the New York State Department of Transportation to
Harlem River Yard Ventures in 1991 for 99 years. In an undemocratic and community excluded
process, the City and State have offered Fresh Direct $130 million dollars of publicly financed
subsidies to assist with Fresh Direct’s relocation to the South Bronx. Even though Fresh Direct
would introduce thousands of daily vehicle and truck trips to South Bronx neighborhoods, the
City and Fresh Direct failed to adequately review the environmental impacts associated with
the project as required by State and Local laws.

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The undersigned support South Bronx Unite in demanding the following:

Immediate Goals

1. Full consideration of environmental impacts of Fresh Direct Project with wellpublicized
public hearings. The City and Fresh Direct performed a grossly inadequate
environmental assessment and failed to conduct a full environmental review as required
by State environmental law. The City’s and Fresh Direct’s environmental assessment
consistently understated potential environmental impacts, such as the thousands of
daily vehicle trips Fresh Direct would introduce into this asthma plagued neighborhood,
ignored residential rezoning and relied upon a 19‐year environmental review prepared
for an entirely different project.

2. Empire State Development Corporation to deny approval of Fresh Direct application
for funding. Fresh Direct has applied for approximately $50 million in subsidies, loans
and grants from the ESDC. The public land upon which Fresh Direct plans to build must,
by State constitutional law, provide a public benefit. Fresh Direct cannot satisfy this legal

3. New York State Department of Transportation to reject the Fresh Direct sublease. The
Fresh Direct project would eliminate any possibly of realizing the intermodal terminal
that was the public purpose that legally justified the DOT leasing the Harlem River Yard
to the Harlem River Yard Venture in 1991 for 99 years.

4. New York State Department of Transportation to declare Harlem River Yard Ventures
in default of the 1991 Lease for failure to provide public benefit. It has been 21 years
since the DOT and the Harlem River Yard Ventures signed a lease conditioned upon
Harlem River Yard Ventures commitment to develop an intermodal terminal at the Yard
and yet the intermodal terminal has never been realized – not one intermodal “lift” has
occurred at the Yard.

5. New York State Comptroller to audit the 1991 Lease between the NYS DOT and
Harlem River Yard Venture. Comptroller audits of DOT/Harlem River Yard Ventures
lease performed in 1993 and 1995 exposed a lease with excessively lopsided terms
allowing for Ventures to make millions in profits while failing to provide the public
benefit required under the terms of the lease – the intermodal terminal. Now Ventures
looks to abandon completely the public benefit by allowing Fresh Direct to build within
the area reserved for the intermodal terminal. Another audit is in order.

6. City Council oversight hearing on EDC/IDA subsidies. The Industrial Development
Agency’s intention to give Fresh Direct $83 million in subsidies was announced prior to
the public hearing on such subsidies. The subsidy deal is one of the largest subsidies
packages in NYC history. IDA subsidies rarely delivery the jobs promised in exchange for
these lucrative packages, much less living wage jobs.

Long Term Vision

7. Open community‐based planning process for future developments at the Harlem River
Yard. The City and developers have completely excluded the South Bronx community
from the land use decision‐making at the Harlem River Yard. The community affected
by the development must have a say in what will be sited in their community.

8. Green businesses that provide living wage jobs for South Bronx residents at the
Harlem River Yard. Rather than bringing in polluting businesses that pay poverty wages
like Fresh Direct (Fresh Direct pays 65% of its workers less than $25,000 a year), the City
and State should sponsor businesses with environmentally sustainable business models
and that pay their workforce a living wage.

9. Dedicated public green space, parks and waterfront accessible to ALL at the Harlem
River Yard. The Harlem River Yard is 96‐acres of public land along the South Bronx
waterfront. The community has no access to the land and the waterfront despite the
City’s waterfront revitalization program that prioritizes waterfront access. South Bronx
residents deserve access to green recreational green space and access to their
waterfront at the Harlem River Yard.

For a better, brighter South Bronx future – South Bronx Unite!

Learn more here.

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