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NEW YORK – Today the Local Initiatives Support Corporation New York City (LISC NYC), Citi Community Development, and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched a second round of the Commercial Corridor Challenge, a collaboration to strengthen and revitalize the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations that anchor New York City neighborhoods. The second round of the program, Commercial Corridor Challenge 2.0, was made possible by Citi Community Development with seed funding that will support four neighborhood commercial districts in Jackson Heights, Queens; Washington Heights, Manhattan; and the Norwood and Morris Heights sections of the Bronx.
The Corridor Challenge 2.0 will codify and elevate learnings across the field of community development and will provide grants and technical assistance to four selected community-based organizations who are presently grantees of SBS’s Neighborhood 360° or Avenue NYC programs. Corridor Challenge funding will be complementary to resources provided by NYC SBS, and will support projects such as beautification initiatives, seasonal pop-up markets, and street fairs aimed at activating public spaces, supporting small businesses and cultivating a sense of civic pride to draw visitors to commercial corridors. In addition, LISC will create a web-based resource hub with materials to assist community organizations throughout New York City and other parts of the country to carry out catalytic corridor improvements.
The four community-based organizations selected for the Corridor Challenge 2.0 through a competitive application process are Chhaya CDC in Jackson Heights, Queens; CLOTH in Washington Heights, Manhattan; Davidson Community Center in Morris Heights, the Bronx; and Mosholu Preservation Corporationin Norwood, the Bronx. These organizations will receive one-year grant funding, tailored technical assistance, support with communicating the impact of their projects, and opportunities for peer learning through cohort convenings.
“Rapidly changing neighborhoods can bring opportunities, but sometimes, those opportunities result in unintended tradeoffs,” said Greg Schiefelbein, New York Tri-State Market Director, Citi Community Development. “We are excited to expand the Commercial Corridor Challenge to reach more neighborhoods and continue to help ensure that small business owners—and the communities they serve-- benefit from New York City’s growth.”
“We are committed to improving New York City’s neighborhoods and keeping them vibrant,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “Partnering with LISC and Citi Community Development to face the challenges in the Queens, Washington Heights and the Bronx commercial corridors allows small businesses in those areas to harness the potential of their communities - and build economic prosperity.
“LISC NYC and our partners recognize the crucial role of commercial corridors in building healthy, vibrant communities,” said Eva Neubauer Alligood, Interim Executive Director of LISC NYC. “Business districts are not just places where local residents shop and gather, but places where people build wealth through small businesses, find jobs, and share, celebrate and preserve community culture. We are immensely grateful to our partners Citi Community Development for their funding and thought leadership, and to NYC SBS for their collaboration and commitment to corridor revitalization.”
In the first round of the Corridor Challenge, three community partners participating in SBS’s Neighborhood 360° program -- WHEDco, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation -- received support to carry out storefront improvements, street clean-ups and beautification, wayfinding campaigns and pop-up markets to help existing local businesses stay competitive and to attract new entrepreneurs and visitors to long-standing corridors on Southern Boulevard in the Crotona East section of the Bronx, Bay Street in the Stapleton section of Staten Island, and Fulton Street in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn.
The first round projects that were completed in summer 2018 demonstrated how relatively modest investments in targeted areas can have rapid, catalytic impacts on local businesses’ vitality and sales, especially when they address customer-focused needs such as cleanliness and safety. Pre- and post-intervention surveys of pedestrians on the corridors revealed that they noticed the improvements and were attracted to visit the corridors more often due to the changes. In each neighborhood, the foundation of the work was a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA), a tool provided to SBS by LISC and its expert consultant Larisa Ortiz to diagnose corridor needs and define strategic, market-based investment strategies informed by community perspectives. CDNAs completed to date can be found at www.nyc.gov/sbs.
The Corridor Challenge leverages public dollars with private sector resources to support commercial corridor revitalization across New York City, enabling existing business owners to remain competitive, and new local entrepreneurs to establish themselves in long-struggling neighborhoods that are beginning to experience an economic resurgence.
About LISC NYC
LISC NYC supports local partners who invest in people and places in order to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable New York City. We do this in three main ways: we provide financial and human capital to build the capacity of our partners and improve neighborhoods. We invest in affordable housing, businesses, and neighborhood assets to improve social, economic, and physical health. We amplify the voices of disenfranchised communities and advocate with them for policy solutions and resources.
Over the last 40 years, LISC NYC has invested over $2.7 billion in more than 75 New York City community development corporations (CDCs) and other local groups. With our support, these organizations have developed and preserved over 40,000 affordable homes, as well as 1.8 million square feet of retail and community space. In 2018 alone, LISC NYC closed $28 million in loans supporting over $280 million of investment in affordable housing and economic development & community facility projects.
For more information, visit www.lisc.org/nyc
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
For more information, visit: www.citicommunitydevelopment.com
About NYC Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting them to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building thriving neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Small Business Services’ (SBS) neighborhood programs were created to identify, develop, and launch commercial revitalization projects in partnership with local stakeholders. Through proactive planning and targeted investments, Neighborhood 360° and Avenue NYC support projects that strengthen and revitalize the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations that anchor New York City neighborhoods.
For more information, visit https://www.nyc.gov/sbs