Nov 1, 2023 - News

Columbus debuts new downtown biz incentives

Illustration of a dollar sign made out of signs saying "open."

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Columbus is looking to help local business owners get in on the ground floor.

Driving the news: A new Downtown Ground Floor Growth initiative will offer rent support and other benefits to small businesses opening downtown shops.

Why it matters: The $1.15 million program, in partnership with the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, is seen as a win-win ā€” filling empty storefronts while encouraging a diverse group of entrepreneurs that otherwise couldn't afford to locate there.

Details: Spaces are available within a quarter-mile area north of Capitol Square.

  • Approved businesses can get rental support of 50% the first year of their lease, 30% the second year and 10% the third.
  • Columbus is allocating $1 million to help with retail space renovation costs, along with $150,000 for business consulting help.

What they're saying: "Downtown is everyone's neighborhood, and its success depends on it being reflective of the diversity of the Columbus community," Council member Nick Bankston said in a news release.

Between the lines: The initiative is one step in Columbus' long term plan to bring more residents and workers to a downtown that has already rebounded nicely from the pandemic.

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