02/26/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/26/2020 18:57
Office of Economic Development's New Tenant Improvement Grants Issue $950,000 to Small Businesses Struggling with Commercial Affordability
Only in Seattle Initiative Awards $1.2 Million to Support Neighborhood Business Districts
Seattle (February 26, 2020) - Standing alongside small business owners and community leaders in the Chinatown-International District, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Councilmember Tammy Morales, and Office of Economic Development (OED) Director Bobby Lee announced over $2 million new investments in small businesses and neighborhood business districts. Mayor Durkan's announcement builds on her recent announcement to help Seattle's small businesses through her proposed Small Business Relief Package.
'We know that our small businesses and business districts are the economic drivers of Seattle. They provide good-paying jobs, serve as community gathering spaces, and enhance the culture and life of a neighborhood,' said Mayor Durkan. 'But so many forces, whether that's commercial affordability, or displacement, or a destabilizing event, are making it harder for small businesses to thrive in Seattle. It's why we continue to take action to support them in moments of uncertainty, and they can count on us as a reliable partner and ally.'
The Mayor made the announcement at Phnom Penh Noodle House, a family-owned restaurant that was started 30 years agon by Cambodian refugees. After being forced to close in 2018, Phnom Penh will re-open their doors to the public thanks in part to OED's Tenant Improvement Grants.
'Small businesses are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods, as they provide services and foster community. Though small businesses are critically important, they often lack the financial support they need from traditional banks to grow their businesses. The City wanted to step up, and become a financing partner to fill the gap through tenant improvement grants. I'm proud the City has dispersed a number of grants to small businesses, including two in my district, so business owners can make the tenant improvements they need to grow their business and thrive for years to come,' said Councilmember Tammy Morales (District 2, South Seattle & The C/ID).
Only in Seattle collaborates with other City departments to invest in neighborhood business districts. In fall 2019, the Office of Economic Development worked to identify neighborhoods and determine investments to support the following types of business district activities:
In 2020, OED invested a total of $1.2 million in local business communities in 17 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies. The following neighborhoods received funding in 2020:
'OED is pleased to support the community efforts to bring back Phnom Penh into the Chinatown/ID, the legacy of the Ung family will continue in their new space. It's an honor to serve our neighborhood business districts, and I am pleased with our Only in Seattle team for consistently finding new ways to support our small businesses,' said OED Director Bobby Lee.
In addition, the Office of Economic Development awarded $950,000 through the new Tenant Improvement Grants program. This new program works to help small businesses in neighborhoods experiencing rapid redevelopment and escalating commercial rents. In 2019, OED launched the Tenant Improvement Grants to fill financing gaps and help small businesses navigate rising commercial affordability.
'Building out a restaurant is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us, we have the resources to only do it once, and we have to do it right. Through the help of SCIDpda and Only in Seattle, we have the rare opportunity of staying in the neighborhood where we began,' said Diane Le, owner of Phnom Penh Noodle House.
The following businesses received Tenant Improvement Grants in 2019:
Chinatown-ID/ Little Saigon