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Hochul announces availability of $5 million small business grants in downtown Niagara Falls


Fri, Nov 17th 2023 02:55 pm

Applications for up to $100,000 in individual grants now available for eligible businesses

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced applications are available for the Niagara Falls Small Business Property Improvement Program. The $5 million initiative will provide grants of up to 50% of total project costs, up to $100,000 per property, to eligible small businesses to foster revitalization of traditional mixed-use business districts. The funds to small business and property owners can be used for commercial improvements such as façade restoration and other mixed-use building upgrades.

Eligibility is based, in part, on whether a business is located within the designated program district. For additional guidelines or to apply, click here

The program is funded through the Regional Revitalization Partnership, a $300 million private and public regional co-investment in three interconnected geographic areas: Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester.

"The City of Niagara Falls is on the rise again, and thanks to a public-private partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and other private funders, we are taking a collaborative approach to bolster the key commercial corridors in Niagara Falls," Hochul said. "These small business grants will help to continue the steady revitalization of downtown Niagara Falls by improving the business climate, increasing mixed-use opportunities, and breathing life into empty storefronts.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “We extend our gratitude to Gov. Hochul and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, along with our private partners, for their commitment in helping to enhance Niagara Falls. The Niagara Falls Small Business Property Improvement Program will help deliver a community-driven economic transformation that will not only revitalize businesses but will build a brighter and equitable future.”

David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation said, “Investing in entrepreneurship and small business support, and place-based economic development is a key focus for us across Western New York. Thriving small businesses create thriving communities and help to reflect and strengthen local culture and economies. We believe the Niagara Falls Small Business Property Improvement Program can make a difference by prioritizing small business revitalization in order to create a lasting impact for generations.”

The NFC Development Corp. (NFC) was previously selected by Empire State Development to serve as the local program administrator for disbursing the funds under the Niagara Falls Small Business Property Improvement Program. The grants provided will fund upgrades to buildings and properties located within target areas; and individual awards to small businesses and property owners may vary in scale and cost based upon particular project needs and eligible components.

NFC will be responsible for specific target areas (i.e., Pine Avenue, Main Street, Portage Road), while USA Niagara Development Corp., a subsidiary of ESD, will staff activities in the target areas in which USAN is currently undertaking economic development activities, such as within USAN’s downtown development district. The program is modeled after the New York State Main Street program and will be tailored to better facilitate the business participation in these target areas.

Business and property owners who have questions can book office hours with the NFSBPIP administrative consultant, Tanya Zwahlen, from Highland Planning, at https://calendly.com/tanya-zwahlen/nfsbpip or they can book an appointment by calling 585-286-7877.

The total state investment for this program is $3 million with philanthropic and corporate entities committing to contribute the remaining $2 million toward the total funding amount, to be used for both capital grants and operational support of NFC.

The Regional Revitalization Partnership was developed in collaboration with Hochul and ESD and is supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Farash Foundation, ESL, KeyBank/First Niagara Foundation, M&T Bank and partners in the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester.

USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry. For more information, visit https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6.

NFC is a not-for-profit corporation created by the City of Niagara Falls to provide programs relieving and reducing unemployment; bettering and maintaining job opportunities; providing aid to attract new business or retain business and industry; assisting/providing aid to small business concerns; receiving grants/loans for the purpose of assisting and aiding small businesses; and entering into necessary covenants, loans and agreements with small businesses, all to stimulate economic development in Niagara Falls.

The Regional Revitalization Partnership is a $300 million comprehensive economic development strategy and public-private partnership that maximizes impact and leverages additional investment for Buffalo’s east Side, Niagara Falls and Rochester.

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