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Building on Mayor Durkan’s Small Business Relief Package, City of Seattle Announces Over $2 Million in New Investments in Small Businesses and Business Districts in Seattle

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: 

  • Business
    development (supporting small businesses, attracting
    new businesses); 
  • Marketing
    and promotion (events, social media, district promotion and
    branding); 
  • Clean
    and safe (graffiti removal, litter removal,
    lighting projects); 
  • Placemaking (catalytic
    development projects, public space improvements and activation); and 
  • Business
    organization development, including creation of a Business Improvement
    Area (BIA). 

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: 

MLK/Othello –
$150,000
Mt. Baker –
$50,000
Chinatown-International
District – $177,000
South Park –
$50,000
Rainier Beach –
$115,000
First Hill –
$65,000
Central Area –
$214,000
Greenwood/Phinney
– $26,000
Hillman City
& Columbia City – $51,000
Crown Hill –
$10,000
Aurora Licton –
$40,000
Capitol Hill –
$80,000
Lake City –
$115,500
Belltown –
$30,000
Beacon Hill –
$55,000
SODO –
$10,000
Ballard – $10,000  

“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:

Central Area:

  • Barbeque
    Pit:
    $100,000: This business has operated for several years
    in the Central Area and had been recently displaced due to redevelopment.
    Financing made it possible for the business to relocate and develop tenant
    improvements at another location in the Central Area.
  • That
    Brown Girl Cooks / Communion Restaurant:
    $561,000: This business operates as a
    soul food catering and wholesale business in the Rainier Valley. Financing
    helped the business to establish a brick and mortar restaurant location at
    the Liberty Bank Building. This business is part of a community strategy
    to create affordable commercial space for Black-owned businesses in the
    Central Area, particularly near the 23rd and Union intersection. 
  • Earl’s
    Cuts and Styles:
    $50,000: This barbershop has been in the Central Area
    for over 25 years. Redevelopment at 23rd and Union displaced the business,
    and our financing made it possible for the business to relocate and build
    out new space at the Liberty Bank Building.

Chinatown-ID/ Little Saigon

  • Phnom
    Penh Noodle House:
    $140,000: The restaurant is a family-owned business
    started by Cambodian refugees more than 30 years ago. The business closed
    in 2018, and financing will help them to re-start the restaurant at a new
    location in Chinatown-International District.

Beacon Hill

  • Musang
    Restaurant:
    $100,000: This restaurant in Beacon Hill was started by
    a chef who grew up in the neighborhood, received her culinary education
    overseas, and came back to Beacon Hill to launch pop up restaurants.
    Financing will make it possible for the business to build out a permanent
    location in Beacon Hill.