Deadlines for a number of government incentive and grant programs instituted to help companies remain within or relocate to Lower Manhattan are quickly approaching and companies wishing to take advantage of these incentives need to make their leasing decisions soon, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York.
The Lower Manhattan Commercial Revitalization Program, administered by the citys Department of Finance, expires on March 31, 2004. Businesses must sign a new lease that commences no later than March 31, 2004 and they have until Sept. 27, 2004 to submit their application. The program reduces real estate taxes in pre-1975 buildings in Lower Manhattan, south of Murray St., City Hall, or the Brooklyn Bridge for five years by up to $2.50 per square foot and requires landlords to pass the savings directly to tenants. It also includes the Commercial Rent Tax Special Elimination and Reduction, which eliminates the Commercial Rent Tax for the first three years of a lease and reduces it by one-third and two-thirds for the fourth and fifth years, respectively.
The Lower Manhattan Small Business and Workforce Retention Project and the World Trade Center Business Recovery Loan Program will accept applications through May 31, 2004. The Lower Manhattan Small Business and Retention Project, administered by the Downtown Alliance and Seedco, offers grants, low interest loans and wage subsidies to eligible businesses. The World Trade Center Business Recovery Loan Program provides low-cost working capital loans on flexible terms through a network of community-based lenders chosen by the Empire State Development Corporation. A list of lenders can be found at http://www.nylovesbiz.com/wtc/brl/wtc-brl.htm. However, funds for these loans may run out prior to May 31, 2004.
The World Trade Center Small Firm Attraction and Retention Grant Program and the Job Creation and Retention Program/Discretionary Grant Program, both administered by the Empire State Development Corporation and the NYC Economic Development Corporation, have deadlines of December 31, 2004.
The WTC Small Firm Attraction and Retention Grant Program is directed at businesses and non-profits with one to 200 employees that sign new leases of at least five years, renew existing leases, or purchase property below Canal St. It offers grants of $3,500 per employee. It offers $5000 per employee to organizations that were located in the Restricted Zone, the area bordered by Chambers St., Broadway, Rector St., and the Hudson River on Sept. 11, 2001. According to Bryan Evans, spokesperson for the Alliance, it is the most effective of all the incentive programs.
The most successful, the most sought after in terms of applications is the Small Firm Attraction and Retention Grant, he said. It is the easiest to apply for. Many small businesses such as small legal firms, doctors offices, apply for these incentives.
The Job Creation and Retention Program/Discretionary Grant Program provides discretionary awards to organizations with more than 200 employees that remain in or relocate to Lower Manhattan.
For more information about any of these programs, contact the Downtown Alliance at (212) 566-6700 or visit http://www.downtownny.com.