Commercial Space and Capital Support

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Support longtime DC businesses developing one or more pilot programs to incentivize affordable commercial space for small businesses and CBEs, including opportunities for businesses to purchase their real estate. The programs could employ CBE requirements flexibility, entitlements flexibility, funding or tax incentives to support the costs.

Progress Updates:

October 2019: In FY2019 DSLBD deployed $1M in Robust Retail grants to support existing retail businesses staying open, providing support to over 60 DC retail businesses citywide.

September 2019: DMPED released a document compiling resources available to help small businesses stay and thrive in DC in the face of rising property values, including:

  • The Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking offers a Collateral Support Program that can aid businesses seeking to purchase or renovate commercial real estate.
  • DC PACE provides 100% financing for building upgrades that reduce utility bills and operating expenses.
  • The Great Streets Small Business Grant, available to businesses in 13 commercial corridors across the city, provides up to $50,000 for capital improvements.
  • The Commission on the Arts and Humanities offers a Facilities and Building Grant to nonprofits for planning, design, renovation, upgrades and acquisition for facilities that support the management, production, or presentation of performances, exhibitions or professional training in the arts or humanities.

June 2019: DMPED released a Request for Information (RFI) addressing ways to support small commercial space users – including local retailers, light manufacturers, startups, nonprofits, as well as arts and cultural organizations – in securing affordable commercial space, with a focus on users located in DC’s 25 Opportunity Zones.

October 2018:DC Council enacted the Small Retailer Property Tax Relief Credit, designed to provide tax relief of up to $5,000 per year to qualifying small businesses under pressure from rising property taxes. Learn more here.

  • Timeline: FY18-20
  • Lead and key partners: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO), Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), Dept. of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD)
  • Related core sectors: retail, hospitality and tourism, real estate and construction, media and communications, creative economy, professional services, health and life sciences
  • Related opportunity areas: n/a
  • Related action areas: space and supports, funding, DC identity and promotion