LISC National
What We Do

Commercial Corridors

LISC NYC recognizes the crucial role of commercial corridors in building healthy, vibrant communities, particularly in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods: they 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. 

For this reason, LISC NYC builds the capacity of community-based partners to revitalize commercial districts by enabling existing business owners to remain competitive, and new local entrepreneurs to get established in low-and-moderate income communities. 

Commercial Corridor Challenge 

The Commercial Corridor Challenge is a partnership of LISC NYC, Citi, and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to strengthen and revitalize the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations that anchor New York City neighborhoods.

In the first round of the Corridor Challenge launched in 2016 and funded by Citi and LISC, three community partners participating in SBS’s Neighborhood 360° program were selected to receive additional financial and technical assistance to carry out “early-action” projects that boosted the visibility, promotion and safety of targeted corridors in low-income neighborhoods. These projects, which 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. The Corridor Challenge also helped build the capacity of community partners to spur commercial districts to improve, thrive, and grow. 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.

Relatively modest investments in targeted areas can have rapid, catalytic impacts on local businesses’ vitality and sales.

A second round of the program, the Commercial Corridor Challenge 2.0, has been generously funded by Citi and launched in summer 2019. Corridor Challenge 2.0 codifies and elevates learnings across the field of community development and provides small grants and technical assistance to select SBS grantees in order to advance these learnings in multiple corridors. In addition to providing targeted grant funding and technical assistance for early action projects in four NYC neighborhoods, LISC has built a web-based Commercial Corridor Resource Hub to assist community organizations to plan and implement catalytic corridor improvements throughout New York City and other parts of the country.

Learn more about the grantees selected for the Commercial Corridor Challenge 2.0.

Commercial Corridor Resource Hub

The Commercial Corridor Resource Hub distills lessons learned from the Commercial Corridor Challenge and provides practical tools to strengthen and revitalize small businesses and commercial districts.

Learn more

Commercial Corridor Challenge news:



To learn more contact Paola Garrido Estévez, LISC NYC Community Development Officer