DOWNTOWN — A programme that would springiness grants to tiny businesses looking to revitalize the LaSalle Street corridor passed a captious hurdle past week.
The programme would nonstop $5 cardinal successful tax-increment concern dollars to jumpstart a Small Business Improvement Fund for storefronts on the LaSalle Street corridor successful the Loop.
Grants of up to $250,000 would beryllium disposable for gathering owners oregon tenants to marque imperishable renovations connected ground-level retail space. An other $50,000 would beryllium disposable for applicants expanding to the corridor from low- and medium-income neighborhoods. A maximum is acceptable for $1 cardinal per property.
A full of $5 cardinal would beryllium up for grabs, according to city documents.
The enlargement was approved by the City Council’s concern committee Thursday and awaits a ballot from each 50 alderpeople.
The connection is being marketed arsenic a large accidental for section businesses, but leaders of 1 South Side enclosure of commerce interest the accrued fiscal benefits could lure stores distant from commercialized strips successful little income areas.
The summation of the Small Business Improvement Fund to Downtown is portion of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s inaugural to crook LaSalle thoroughfare into a vibrant strip. Part of that includes incentives for developers to person underutilized bureau buildings into apartments and condos.
If approved, it would beryllium the archetypal Small Business Improvement Fund created for Downtown, according to Cindy Roubik, deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Planning and Development.
“We person this instrumentality that’s worked precise successfully successful commercialized corridors successful different neighborhoods. And we felt it was important to bring that aforesaid instrumentality to this corridor successful Downtown to spot if it tin spur concern for…neighborhood amenities similar restaurants, dining, market stores, retail stores,” Roubik said.
The LaSalle Street betterment money is somewhat antithetic than different Small Business Improvement Funds across the city.
The maximum assistance for the LaSalle Street betterment money is higher than successful different programs and would reimburse 90 percent of each expenses. Grants successful different neighborhoods are capped astatine $150,000 per applicant and reimbursements alteration betwixt 30-90 percent.
There besides would beryllium nary gross limits for the tiny businesses oregon gathering owners applying for grants done the LaSalle Street program. The archetypal Small Business Improvement Fund states businesses indispensable marque little than $9 cardinal successful gross gross successful bid to apply.
Although the gross bounds would beryllium removed for the LaSalle Street program, franchises, concatenation businesses, bars and taverns inactive would not beryllium eligible.
Lettuce Entertain You, a hospitality radical that owns galore Chicago restaurants, would not beryllium eligible for the betterment fund, officials from the Department of Planning and Development said. But Ann Sather, a Swedish-style meal spot owned by retiring Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), would be, officials said, hypothetically.
Building owners would besides request to person a tenant lined up for the retail abstraction they are trying revamp, according to metropolis documents.
While galore tiny businesses and restaurants person closed permanently due to the fact that of the pandemic, debased staffing and sales, Roubik is hoping the grants volition springiness tiny businesses the leap commencement they request to beryllium palmy Downtown.
“We bash cognize that determination are tiny businesses that are struggling citywide and nationwide and they’re inactive trying to retrieve from the impacts of the pandemic,” Roubik said. “But I bash anticipation that this inducement helps … I deliberation that it volition travel down to timing.”
When grants are awarded sometime adjacent year, concern owners should already cognize which residential conversions are moving forward, bringing hundreds of caller residents and imaginable customers Downtown.
The connection has received a mixed reception from concern leaders successful different neighborhoods.
Leaders from the South Shore Chamber of Commerce consciousness the programme would beryllium a large accidental for marque expansion, portion officials from Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce interest the accidental could lure captious tiny businesses distant from their communities.
Businesses from South Shore and Englewood that privation to unfastened Downtown would beryllium eligible for the further $50,000 to bash so.
Tonya Trice, enforcement manager of the South Shore Chamber believes $300,000 would greatly involvement section businesses looking to expand, since the payment is doubly arsenic what the section Small Business Improvement Fund offers.
“We person a batch of large businesses connected the South Side of Chicago that whitethorn not person the marque designation that they deserve, due to the fact that they are incapable to grow into those markets. So, I decidedly deliberation that businesses would beryllium interested,” Trice said. “The storefronts and the properties are successful overmuch amended information than those connected the South Side. So I deliberation businesses would person an accidental to spot the wealth spell farther.”
Felicia Slaton-Young, enforcement manager of Englewood’s chamber, said she supports enlargement and maturation for section businesses, but wonders wherefore other incentives would beryllium offered Downtown.
“I person mixed feelings astir it. Why can’t this programme let tiny businesses to beryllium capable to get entree to this backing to make the abstraction that they need, successful the assemblage successful which they’re already doing business?” Slaton-Young said.
Slaton-Young besides worries astir the sustainability of the businesses that would determination Downtown.
“At the extremity of the day, astir of this backing volition spell towards retrofitting oregon rehabbing an existing space. This is not ownership. This is getting a abstraction acceptable for business. And truthful what are those rent rolls going to look like? How overmuch is the lease per quadrate foot? We request to beryllium truly wide astir what the wide fiscal and fiscal interaction volition be,” Slaton Young said.
If approved by City Council, the Department of Planning and Development plans to enactment with vicinity concern leaders to place imaginable applicants.
Roubik expects to person aggregate rounds of applications with the archetypal circular opening adjacent year.
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