Offering Incentives to Bring Businesses Back to Downtown

City officials in the nation’s capital sweeten the pot for businesses that fill vacant spaces.
People chasing money, concept, offering incentives

© Mykyta Dolmatov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In January, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office announced $3 million in “Downtown Recovery” grants to incentivize businesses to move into vacated properties in the once-bustling two-square-mile corridor in the center of the city. Applicants had until March 15 to apply.

Approximately 35% of the District’s businesses are located downtown, generating approximately 185,000 jobs and about $1 billion in net revenue annually, according to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

To qualify for the grants, a business must lease a space that has been vacant for at least six months in the Downtown Business Improvement District or the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District. The project must promise to drive daytime foot traffic and be completed by September 2025. The grants can cover construction, rent and utilities.

The program is part of a $19.6 million preexisting community grant program aimed at revitalizing the city’s epicenter. Local leaders have expressed concerns about the future impact of vacancies resulting from Fannie Mae moving its private office headquarters out of Midtown Center and the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards possibly leaving the Capital One Arena in Chinatown for Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Va.


View a list of grant and funding opportunities offered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

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