City of Albuquerque Offers Incentives to Attract More Businesses
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Empty storefronts in downtown Albuquerque aren’t the most appealing sight. The city is trying to fill them, by announcing new incentives to attract new businesses to the city center and develop those already there.
It uses half a million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funding to give up to $ 30,000 to small businesses that occupy a vacant street-level location downtown. Existing downtown businesses can also get financing if they expand their business by 50%.
“Everything is designed to, once again, help the businesses there and attract new businesses to the downtown area,” said Lawrence Rael, Director of Operations for the City of Albuquerque.
The incentive is an idea that longtime downtown business owner Steve Vatoseow agrees with.
“When it comes to new businesses moving in, I welcome them and think it would just make a lively, family-friendly place people will want to come,” said Vatoseow, owner of Lindy’s Diner. “I would really love to see these vacant buildings rehabilitated and maybe new businesses you know have moved in.”
For the grant money, the city defines downtown as Lomas to Coal and Broadway to 11th. Businesses can also get additional funding if they show how they will get visitors from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. four days a week. The aim is to help families and people working in the city center to shop and eat there also on weeknights.
“It’s really about creating sustainability for the whole week, not just the weekends. Because we do pretty well on the weekends. It’s the weekdays that become a challenge, ”said Raël. He would like to see different types of businesses apply for the grant money.
“The younger scene in bars, etc. I think we’re doing pretty well there, all things considered. It’s a little bit more diversified, ”said Raël. The city is also investing $ 2.2 million in ARPA funding for residential housing projects, with the potential to turn empty offices into new housing.
“Housing is an important element. Without the people of the city center, these businesses do not succeed, ”said Raël. He also said the city was considering zoning the city center to make it as “pro-business” as possible.
Vatoseow said some revitalization will take time after the pandemic. “Our biggest problem right now is that people in the workplace aren’t going back to work. They work from home, so we depend on that crowd for our lunch activities, ”he said.
However, Vatoseow said the new incentives would help and were a good start. “We have a lot of problems here, but it’s nothing that we can’t overcome,” he said.
The showcase grant money can be used for everything from rent to hiring and paying staff to inventory. Showcase grant applications are already open and will be assessed and awarded while funds are exhausted. There is no deadline.