Today Mayor Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners at in Seattle’s Ballard business district to announce a $2 million investment in 18 neighborhood business districts as part of the Only in Seattle Initiative.
“This investment in neighborhood business districts is critical to our city,” said Mayor Murray. “Healthy business districts equate to thriving businesses, stable jobs and overall success for our city.”
Small businesses employ 72 percent of Seattle’s workforce and contribute 35 percent of the city’s business tax revenues, totaling $55.4 million. Our local neighborhood business districts serve as the location and incubators for many of the city’s small businesses.
“The Only in Seattle Initiative is a great complement to the city’s neighborhood planning efforts that have happened throughout the years,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency. “These investments help the major players in neighborhood business districts execute concrete steps towards a common vision.”
The Office of Economic Development (OED)’s Only in Seattle Initiative (OIS) supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create healthy business districts:
- Business and retail development (supporting businesses, enhancing business mix);
- Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising);
- Clean and safe (graffiti removal, dumpster free alleys, lighting);
- Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art); and
- Business organization development to sustain the effort, including participation of an existing Business Improvement Area (BIA) or exploration to form one.
The local business communities in these seven neighborhoods have developed comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing a total of over $1.2 million in 2014.
- Ballard $ 85,000
- Beacon Hill $ 60,000
- Capitol Hill $ 150,000
- Chinatown / International District $ 580,000
- MLK (Rainier Valley) $ 115,000
- Rainier Beach $ 85,000
- University District $ 150,000
“In Pioneer Square, the recruitment strategy developed in 2012 with the help of community stakeholders and funding from Only in Seattle suggested guidelines for a particular mix of restaurants, retail, and services, and recommended leading the recruitment effort with food,” said Karen True, director of business development, Alliance for Pioneer Square. “We’re very excited about our success in finding those quality, intriguing, and relevant retail businesses that help make Pioneer Square an even better place to live, work, and visit. 26 new storefront businesses opened in Pioneer Square in 2013, 15 of them restaurants, and more are scheduled to open in this summer.”
OIS is also investing $164,000 to help business districts organize and develop action plans in Belltown, Central District, First Hill, Georgetown, Lake City and South Park,
OIS is providing $60,000 to support focused investments in: Columbia City, Fremont and Pioneer Square.
This year, $500,000 was also granted to neighborhoods for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience. In 2014, those neighborhoods are:
- University District
- Pioneer Square
- Chinatown/International District
- Pike/Pine Corridor – Downtown
- First Hill
“My family owns Tony’s Bakery and Deli near Othello and has been a part of this community for three decades,” said Susanna Tran, retail broker with West Coast Commercial Realty and committee member of On Board Othello and the Martin Luther King Business Association. “We are eager to work with other community and business partners on a shared vision for economic development that will support the cultural and economic diversity of these neighborhoods. On Board Othello, with funding support from Only in Seattle, brings together these various partners and provides an organizing structure to work together and achieve our goals.”
Over the past three years, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in our business districts generated another $34.5 million in revenues to fund services and projects from regular sidewalk cleaning to beautification and marketing.
Other Program Highlights – The Only in Seattle funding will also invest approximately $119,000 to:
- Help neighborhood business districts explore or enhance Business Improvement Areas (BIA) in the following neighborhoods: Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Chinatown/International District, First Hill, Lake City, and University District.
- Support façade improvements for eight businesses near the Othello Light Rail Station in the MLK Othello district.