Key Food to Get NYCIDA Rebuilding Aid
The New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) has approved rebuilding assistance for the Key Food at 105-38 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The supermarket, one of the few on the Peninsula, has been closed since being devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Operated by the Rock Beach Food Corporation, the store’s absence has had a severe impact on residents still dealing with closures of grocery and food stores all across the area.
NYCIDA approved the aid through its Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Program. It will allow for immediate repair and renovation of the existing facility, including improving the interior of the store and expanding the produce section.
The FRESH project is expected to generate $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city and assist in the recovery of the area, which was particularly hard hit by the October storm.
“We are pleased to have offered critical assistance through the FRESH program to help this Rockaway business to get up and running once again,” said NYCIDA Chairman Seth W. Pinsky. “Not only will this project generate millions in additional 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.”
Rock Beach Food Corp. has operated the Key Food supermarket since 2005.
Through a package of NYCIDA incentives, 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 devastated by the hurricane.
In January, NYCIDA 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 their 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 still submit their applications for HESTEP assistance on or before April 1, 2013. Businesses interested in applying for HESTEP should visit http://www.nycedc.com/program/hurricane-emergency sales-tax-exemption-programhestep
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 due to 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.