Press Releases

For Immediate Release
August 2, 2019

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

City Planning Launches New Map on FRESH Food Stores

Supermarket Needs Index offers analysis of existing grocery stores and supermarkets, as well as underserved areas, across all New York City neighborhoods

FRESH Index Map

NEW YORK - Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced the launch of the Supermarket Needs Index, an interactive map showing access to fresh food stores throughout New York City - and what neighborhoods remain underserved. This webtool will inform communities of nearby grocery stores and supermarkets, as well as help the City determine where improved and expanded City zoning and tax incentives of the FRESH program can promote the creation of more fresh-food supermarkets.

“Existing FRESH locations are literally bearing fruit and vegetables!” said DCP Director Marisa Lago. “This new digital tool empowers communities to directly assess their need for fresh food retailers – and then advocate for FRESH designation. The FRESH program works, so DCP is especially pleased to be working with the Deputy Mayor’s Office and the City Council to make FRESH even better, ensuring that more families have easy access to good, healthy food.”

The Index, comprised of important factors (such as concentration of stores, walkability, access to car, presence of families with children in poverty), helps communities, policy researchers and supermarket operators evaluate the number of additional stores necessary to meet the needs of the area.

FRESH projects completed and open to the public provide nearly 860,000 square feet of new or renovated grocery store space, are estimated to retain more than 600 jobs and create about 900 new jobs, and represent an investment of approximately $140 million across the City. But despite this increase in FRESH stores, many New York City neighborhoods remain underserved.

City Planning is working closely with the New York City Council to study potential geographic expansion of FRESH zoning incentives to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods where:

  • The Index shows a demonstrated need to facilitate fresh food stores and
  • Zoning and appropriate tax incentives can successfully incentivize development of grocery stores

A team comprised of city planners, economic experts and City Council members is examining how FRESH zoning has worked to date to determine how it could be updated, including reducing approval time. In addition, new rules would distinguish between supermarkets in new construction versus renovation of existing buildings, responding to observations of how the current rules are working, or not working well. The team is exploring potential reductions in required parking where appropriate, and considering a provision to apply for additional height for supermarkets in some underserved neighborhoods.

Going forward, City Planning will work with elected officials and stakeholders to build consensus around the most effective strategies for updating and expanding the program to meet the needs of communities for fresh food stores.