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Food

Brewer issues Manhattan supermarket survey and Age-Friendly Supermarket Guide, calls for policies to boost neighborhood supermarkets

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer released “Manhattan Supermarkets: How to Keep them Alive,” a survey of Manhattan’s supermarkets and grocers with policy recommendations to stem the tide of supermarket closures. The report also includes the Age-Friendly Supermarket Guide, a census of senior-friendly features at 229 Manhattan supermarkets (including wheelchair accessibility, restroom availability, delivery costs, and any available senior discounts).

“The first step in solving a lot of problems is to make a list,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When we realized supermarket closures were a growing problem but couldn’t get a single, up-to-date list of supermarkets, their features, and their services, we decided to make our own. I’m happy we can provide that list to New Yorkers, along with findings to jumpstart the conversation about how government can help neighborhood supermarkets stay open.”

Recommendations
Brewer issued several recommendations to protect and boost Manhattan neighborhoods’ access to supermarkets, including:

  • Expanded zoning incentives for supermarkets – The nearly decade-old FRESH zoning incentive program doesn’t apply in many neighborhoods that are now feeling the threat of dwindling supermarkets. Programs created with the intention of helping existing ‘food deserts’ need to be retooled and expanded to help neighborhoods that aren’t yet food deserts, but are at risk of becoming them. New zoning incentives, offering floor area bonuses
  • Eliminating the Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) for supermarkets – Supermarkets in the area of Manhattan between 96th Street and Chambers Street pay the Commercial Rent Tax, a roughly 4 percent tax surcharge on commercial rent. Earlier this year, Brewer and Councilmember Corey Johnson introduced Intro 1472, legislation in the City Council to exempt supermarkets from this tax entirely. The legislation would cost the city a mere $5.6 million, but help many supermarkets struggling with rent to stay afloat.
  • Help reduce supermarkets’ costs – By reviewing and rolling back unnecessary rules and regulations increasing supermarkets’ costs, and by aggressively establishing and enforcing commercial loading zones in front of every supermarket, government can reduce supermarkets’ operating costs to help them stay in business.

Methodology. While city and state databases cite almost 2,000 establishments selling food in Manhattan, this study eliminated establishments such as bodegas, delis, and pharmacy chains, requiring stores in the dataset to sell all of the following products:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • fresh meat, poultry, and/or fish
  • prepared foods
  • dairy
  • dry and canned goods

Once this standard is applied, the total number of supermarkets included was 229 borough-wide.

 

Supermarkets by Community Board

 Community Board   Total supermarkets 

 Home delivery 

 SNAP/EBT 

1

11

11

5

2

15

13

12

3

25

15

20

4

18

18

15

5

8

7

6

6

11

10

9

7

27

23

17

8

31

29

24

9

13

10

13

10

18

11

18

11

16

13

15

12

36

25

33

Grand Total

229

185

187