NYCEDC has $18.5M up for grabs for Staten Island companies

NYCEDC has $18.5M up for grabs for Staten Island companies

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has launched two recent competitions that, combined, will pump close to $18.5 million into the Staten Island economy.

The first, the Neighborhood Game-Changer Investment Competition, will dole out up to $18 million to the Island’s East and South Shores, as part of a $90 million city-wide program that aims to enhance the vitality, connectivity and economic strength of areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The second, the Staten Island Storefronts Race for Space, will award $425,000 in prizes to eligible businesses opening new storefronts in existing spaces in Downtown Staten Island.

“For retail business owners and restaurateurs, there couldn’t be a better time to expand to Downtown Staten Island,” according to a release on the Race for Space program. “Private sector employment in Downtown Staten Island has increased by 32 percent over the last two decades, while retail space remains competitively-priced. Two major mixed-use developments spread across the downtown waterfront will begin construction in the next few years, bringing more than 1,000 units of housing to the neighborhood, in addition to new retailers, while the city plans to further improve the waterfront for pedestrian access, creating a continuous stretch of promenades. All in all, downtown is poised to become a more dynamic place to live, work and play.”

Through the Race for Space program, the EDC’s goal is to fill storefronts in downtown with businesses “ready to commit to being a part of the neighborhood and invest in the future.” Awards of $25,000 are available for dry goods retailers or services providers; $50,000 for food services applicants; and $75,000 for leases of 5,000 square feet or more.

Any interested party can apply as long as: the space is an existing storefront downtown; a lease is signed within three months of the award and is at least three years in length; the annual rent is equal to or greater than the prize amount, or the planned capital investments in permanent space improvements are at least twice the prize amount; and the applicant is not an ineligible type of business, according to the EDC.

“On the North Shore of Staten Island and a short distance across the Harbor from Manhattan, Downtown Staten Island might be New York City’s last, best kept secret,” the EDC says. “Beautiful vistas, majestic Victorian houses, with more than 30,000 residents and nearly 15,000 workers in vibrant communities make the neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville and Stapleton places poised for growth.

“Staten Island Storefronts provides a unique opportunity for retailers, restaurateurs, service providers and entertainment venues to get in on the ground floor.”

The Race for the Space began on June 24. The application deadline is Sept. 30 at noon. All winners will be notified of their prize within approximately two weeks of submission and will sign a “Winners Agreement.” Interested people can apply online at www.statenislandstorefronts.com and questions may be submitted to SIStorefronts@nycedc.com.

As for the Neighborhood Game-Changer Investment Competition, any business, non-profit organization or joint venture comprised of multiple entities may submit a proposal. Winning projects should take place on a privately-controlled site.

The competition is seeking to leverage awards funds to attract significant private investment for capital-intensive projects that benefit Sandy impact areas.

The EDC wants the projects to generate significant economic activity above and beyond the funded projects. In addition, the projects could complement community goals and existing efforts to grow local industries, support small businesses, anchor new or existing industry clusters and, most importantly, create jobs, particularly for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

Finally, according to the EDC, the potential projects could foster partnerships among businesses, public and not-for-profit institutions and community-based organizations.

“The Game-Changer Competition will play a critical role as we continue to assist those neighborhoods most affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky said. “With this $90 million in federal aid, areas across the city will have important resources at their disposal to develop transformational projects that leverage substantial private investment, allowing them to rebuild and come back more resilient and stronger than ever.”

Awards of up to $18 million in Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Relief will be given to a project or projects that will improve high-impact areas such as New Dorp Beach, Ocean Breeze and South Beach, among others.

Hurricane Sandy affected more than 18,000 businesses with more than 200,000 employees, causing many to close on a temporary or permanent basis, according to the EDC.

The RFP can be downloaded at www.nycedc.com/neighborhoodgamechanger, and you can email neighborhoodgamechanger@nycedc.com with any questions.

The application deadline is Sept. 9, and awards are expected to be announced by December.

The project has Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise participation goals, and all respondents will be required to submit an M/WBE Sub-Contractors Participation Plan with their response.