Retail

Unless a low-income neighborhood is void of basic services, allocating subsidies for large retail projects, is an unwise policy. Retailers, especially big-box stores and national retailers, often rely on part-time employees to keep costs low and provide little or no benefits. Despite New York City’s large population and diverse customer base, in recent years, officials have used public resources to develop and plan new retail destinations. In some cases, these proposals replace existing, successful retail operations. This section highlights some of these efforts. To learn more about the Administration’s plans in Queens, visit the Economic Development Corporation, Flushing Coalition for Responsible Development and Willets Point United.

Albee Square / City Point

Despite being one of the most profitable retail destinations in the city, Albee Square Mall in Downtown Brooklyn was demolished in 2007 to make way for a new retail development called City Point. The developer benefited by the city's displacement of existing stores and $20 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, (a $3.2 million subsidy package approved for City Point in 2007 fell through).

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Fresh Direct

Fresh Direct, which has received over $2 million in subsidies for its Queens facility, threatened to move its operations to New Jersey unless it receives an incentive pacakge for a South Bronx location.  City, State and Bronx officials have proposed a subsidy package worth over $100 million. Residents of the South Bronx are responding to the proposed subsidies. A diverse coalition, South Bronx Unite - Stop Fresh Direct  is actively working to block Fresh Direct's potential move to their neighborhood.

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Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market

Since the 1920s the Bronx Terminal Market, located along the Major Deegan Expressway between East 149 Street and Macombs Dam Bridge, had been known as an immigrant food service hub: historically serving the culinary needs of Italians, Puerto Ricans, and today catering to the West Indian community and other immigrant groups.

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Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment

The campaign to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory was – many believe – the launching pad for the 2010 Living Wage NYC campaign that was created after the City Council rejected the Bloomberg Administration’s plan to create a tax-payer subsidized retail destination called “Shops at the Armory”. The Administration‘s plan did not address what the residents had been advocating for nearly a dozen years:

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Wal-Mart

Conservative estimates show that Wal-Mart has garnered over $1.2 billion in subsidies nationwide.3  In addition, Wal-Mart is notorious for questioning assessments of its property in an effort to lower its taxes. Public subsidies that Wal-Mart and its developers have received range from infrastructure assistance and tax breaks to government grants. Most of these subsidies can be allocated without a public hearing or city council input. 

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