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VOL. 124 | NO. 118 | Thursday, June 18, 2009

CCC Adopts Grant Program To Help Downtown Office Market

By Andy Meek

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One of the Center City Commission’s affiliate boards has added a new grant program to the toolbox of tax breaks and businesses incentives offered by the Downtown development agency.

The Center City Development Corp. has created a commercial office tenant improvement program CCC president Jeff Sanford called a first of its kind for the Downtown board.

At the CCDC’s meeting Wednesday, the board voted to provide $350,000 for the program for one year. What that money will do is allow Downtown office tenants who can’t afford – or whose landlords can’t afford – to pay tenant improvement costs to apply for a chunk of that $350,000.

Creating the grant program was recommended after CCC representatives consulted with representatives from the Downtown office market and came to the conclusion the market, in Sanford’s words, is “fragile.”

“And all signs are … things won’t get better anytime soon and could very well get worse,” Sanford said. “We intentionally set this up as a one-year program. We’re plowing new ground here. We’re saying, ‘Let’s see how this works for a year.’”

Jay Goff, director of development and diversity outreach for the CCC, said the program’s goal is to “attract or recruit feet on the street.”

A draft outline of the new program explains that in more detail. It’s designed to help stabilize Downtown’s office market by retaining and recruiting new full-time employees within the area.

It does that by attempting to preserve existing office tenants who might have gone elsewhere because of an inability to pay things such as necessary tenant improvements. It’s also meant to provide potential new office tenants with an incentive that helps them seal the deal.

Depending on the staffing level of applicants, a sliding scale of possible grant money would be available. For an office tenant with three to 10 full-time employees, up to $5,000 could be applied for.

Here’s a breakdown of other possibilities:

  • Up to $10,000 for tenants with 11-30 full-time employees
  • Up to $20,000 for tenants with 31-60 full-time employees
  • Up to $30,000 for tenants with 61-80 full-time employees
  • And up to $40,000 for tenants with 81 full-time employees or more.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 65 366 17,721
MORTGAGES 70 417 23,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 15 91 4,519
BUILDING PERMITS 210 932 42,157
BANKRUPTCIES 62 299 16,691
BUSINESS LICENSES 19 80 5,781
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 49 305 25,174
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 96 5,381

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