San Francisco launches new grants to address vacant storefronts
Vacant storefronts have become commonplace in San Francisco, but a new grant program aims to help reverse that trend.
Driving the news: Mayor London Breed on Monday announced the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) will provide $4 million in grants to help small-business owners obtain new commercial leases and train entrepreneurs on a variety of topics, including financial management and business development.
Why it matters: San Francisco is still trying to recover from the pandemic's effect on business closures, office vacancies and dwindling foot traffic in downtown.
- Meanwhile, the San Francisco Bay Area saw a lower rate of new business applications last year than it did in 2021.
Details: Small businesses can apply to receive up to $25,000 for their first storefront or up to $50,000 to expand to an additional location.
- Entrepreneurs interested in business training can apply for grants between $5,000 to $50,000.
- Retail vacancies occur when "a property owner or landlord fails to actively market a vacant retail storefront to viable commercial tenants and/or to offer the property at a reasonable rate," per the law.
- There are about 2,800 vacant property parcels in the city subject to the commercial vacancy tax, according to San Francisco's tax collector.
What they're saying: Breed, in a press release, said the grants are part of the city's strategy to fill vacant storefronts, revitalize San Francisco's economy and "bring energy to our merchant corridors."
- "Our local entrepreneurs can really help drive our recovery," Sarah Dennis Phillips, OEWD's executive director, told the San Francisco Chronicle,
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