Durham Seeks Grant Applicants for Retail and Building Improvements
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Durham Seeks Grant Applicants for Retail and Building Improvements

November 12 Deadline to Submit Applications for Second Round of Grant Opportunities

DURHAM, N.C. – October 12, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Durham businesses interested in creating or expanding a business in downtown Durham or targeted areas inside the city limits should take note that a second round for two grant opportunities is now available through the City of Durham.

The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) is now accepting applications for the Merchandise-Based Retail Incentive and Building Improvement Grants. The OEWD’s Merchandise-Based Retail Incentive Grant, specifically targeted for the Downtown Development Tier and select neighborhoods inside the city limits, will provide economic development incentives to eligible projects that support the creation, retention, or expansion of businesses within the Downtown Development Tier, including Parrish Street.

Eligible projects within the community development area (CDA) outside of the Downtown Development Tier, including targeted corridors; or within targeted areas in the urban growth area (UGA) are also encouraged to apply. The targeted corridors inside the CDA are Angier Avenue and Driver Street; West Chapel Hill Street; Mangum Street; Fayetteville Street; East Main Street; and Holloway Street. The targeted areas within the UGA are Wellon’s Village, North Roxboro Road, and Avondale Drive.

In order to be eligible for this grant, the project property must be a street level, merchandise-based retail business or certain professional or personal services such as a childcare centers or beauty salons. The applicant must be the owner of the property or have a fully signed lease and a letter of approval from the property owner supporting the proposed improvements. The business must be open at least five days a week, eight hours a day. Organizations that are not eligible to apply are religious organizations; government agencies or offices; businesses or private clubs that exclude minors as patrons; or residential projects.

Grant recipients are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in matching funds from the City for a project that meets eligibility criteria and scores high enough in the competitive evaluation process. Only funds spent on work performed after City approval of the grant are eligible for reimbursement.

The OEWD’s Building Improvement Grant requires that eligible applicants own the building at the time of application and the project must be private property and non-residential. Capital investment improvements must be on an existing building having vacant spaces for the purpose of improving and/or upgrading the interior and exterior, to make the first floor more rentable or “retail/restaurant-ready.” Grant parameters include the following: If the project is within the Community Development Area outside the Downtown Development Tier, the minimum total project capital investment must be at least $187,500. If the project is within the Downtown Development Tier, the minimum total project capital investment must be at least $225,000. If the project is within a Targeted Portion of the Urban Growth Area, the minimum total project capital investment must be at least $300,000.

To assist applicants with identifying whether proposed projects are located within eligible geographic areas for both grants, a state-of-the-art mapping application has been developed by the City’s Geographic Information Systems’ Division. The application is available on the City’s website at http://gisweb.durhamnc.gov/durhammaps/oewd/viewer/index.html.

The deadline to apply for both grants is November 12, 2010, by 5 p.m. Funding requests of $50,000 or greater will be subject to City Council approval. All efforts will be made to evaluate and determine funding requests less than $50,000 within 45 days of the submission deadline. The City anticipates notifying applicants of their award status by late December 2010.

For a complete description of the grant application guidelines, application process, and mapping application visit the City’s website at www.DurhamEconomicDevelopment.org. Interested applicants for proposed projects outside the Downtown Development Tier should contact Peter Coyle, cultural and business initiatives coordinator with the City’s OEWD, via e-mail at Peter.Coyle (at) durhamnc (dot) gov. For proposed projects within the Downtown Development Tier, contact Joy Mickle-Walker, coordinator of downtown development & marketing with the City’s OEWD, via e-mail at Joy.Mickle-Walker (at) durhamnc (dot) gov.

About the Office of Economic and Workforce Development
The City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) seeks to increase the city’s tax base through several revitalization initiatives, including new development efforts in the central city area. The department also identifies and recruits companies in target industries, prepares Durham residents for these opportunities and places Durham residents to fill these positions created by the recruitment of companies. For more information, visit www.DurhamEconomicDevelopment.org.

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