The District is now accepting applications for FY2015 “Great Streets” grants that go toward renovating small business storefronts, inside and out, to make them more attractive to their communities – and customers.
Most of the small businesses along Connecticut Avenue, from Albemarle Street to Macomb, are eligible for grants worth up to $85,000. This stretch of first became eligible during the 2014 fiscal year. Indique and City Fitness are the two Connecticut Avenue businesses that have been awarded grants so far.
There is no hard deadline for the FY2015 grants. Instead, it’s a rolling process, with applications reviewed and grants awarded once per month.
Polina Bakhteiarov, executive director of Great Streets, sent us the following information about the program:
Mayor Vincent C. Gray is deeply committed to the success of DC-based small businesses, so much so that he made becoming the “most business-friendly economy in the nation” his top goal within the Five-Year Economic Development Strategy. One concrete way that the Mayor supports small businesses along the District’s commercial corridors, including Connecticut Avenue NW, is through the Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Grants, which are competitive, reimbursable grants of up to $85,000 for small business owners to improve their place of business. The purpose of the grants is to support existing small businesses, attract new businesses, increase the District’s tax base, create new job opportunities for District residents, and transform emerging corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers.
Eligible applicants for the grants are owners of small retail or service-oriented businesses, although some business types are ineligible, including liquor stores, bars, and home-based businesses. To qualify for a grant, you must have a registered business in good standing with local and federal agencies, show proof of insurance, have site control of your business property (if you are leasing, you must have at least two (2) years remaining in your lease term), and be located within one of the Great Streets corridors (for Connecticut Avenue NW, business must be located between Macomb Street NW and Albemarle Street NW).
If awarded a grant, the business owner must first complete the approved capital improvements and then be reimbursed for the work completed. Eligible funding uses under the grant are build-out of new commercial space, interior and exterior renovations to existing commercial space, including façade improvements, and the purchase and installation of heavy equipment that is permanently attached to the business property.
Please note that the grant has a rolling application. Submitted applications will be reviewed, and award decisions will be made, on a monthly basis. The next processing date is Monday, October 27th, 2014. Applicants should expect to be notified of an award decision within 30 days of application processing. All approved renovations must be completed, and requests for reimbursement submitted, by Tuesday, September 15th, 2015.
If you are a business owner who is interested in this opportunity, please visit greatstreets.dc.gov to learn more and apply. Have questions? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 615-6625. If you would like assistance with completing your grant application, please contact one of the city-wide small business technical assistance providers, such as the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce [(202) 728-0352] or the Latino Economic Development Center [(202) 588-5102]. All community partners are listed at greatstreets.dc.gov/node/745772.
This post has been updated to include more information on the rolling application process.