NYC set to crack down on fast delivery app ‘dark stores’

Mayor Eric Adams is set to crack down on the proliferation of warehouse-like spaces that grocery delivery apps have created inside the Big Apple’s former storefronts – ordering them to allow customers to do so there. shopping or moving to the outskirts of town, The Post has learned.

Critics, including City Council members Gale Brewer and Christopher Marte, have argued that storefronts operated by apps such as Gopuff and Gorillas violate zoning laws because they function primarily as warehouses and therefore should leave the designated areas for retail.

In response, some stores have recently started allowing walk-in customers on an ad hoc basis.

This week, the Department for Buildings issued more specific guidance on how storefronts can continue to do business, saying they must allow shoppers to enter, pick up items or place an order – without them. require you to download an app first.

Businesses that don’t allow shoppers to enter the store and purchase goods on-site would be relegated to manufacturing-only areas of the city, a DOB spokesperson told The Post.

New York City is releasing new rules that will regulate where these businesses can operate.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The DOB has also targeted practices that have led to the nickname “dark blinds” because passers-by cannot see inside the spaces. The agency said any storefronts that are obscured by “more than 50% with posters, paper, vinyl tint and other opaque materials may result in DOB violations.”

At one point there were over 100 locations in the city, but in recent months a number of them have folded, including Russian-backed Buyk and Fridge No More.

“The Adams administration is committed to fostering innovation and protecting quality of life as part of a strong and inclusive economic recovery for our city, and we expect the final version of this technical analysis do exactly that,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said. in a report.

A Gopuff worker sitting on the floor in a store surrounded by merchandise.
Gopuff is among the grocery delivery apps that have taken hold in the Big Apple.
Courtesy of @gopuff

“We are still in the middle of this process and look forward to continued engagement with elected officials, advocates and community partners to ensure we get it right,” the spokesperson added.

The proposed rules will be open for public comment until May 20.

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