2008-11-07 / Business News

Programs For Developers, Property And Business Owners

Kevin Alexander, President of RDRC Kevin Alexander, President of RDRC The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) has announced several initiatives focused on business development and commercial revitalization for the Beach 116 Street commercial-retail corridor in Rockaway Park. RDRC's participation in these programs will require the support of community residents, property and business owners, the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and civic associations.

The New York City Department of Small Business Services has awarded RDRC a contract to provide project management, marketing and community outreach services in conjunction with the establishment of a Business Improvement District (BID) along the Beach 116 Street commercial-retail corridor.

A BID is a formal organization made up of property owners and commercial tenants who are dedicated to promoting business development and improving the quality of life of an area. BIDs deliver supplemental services such as sanitation and maintenance, public safety and visitor services, marketing and promotional programs, capital improvements, and beautification projects for the area.

The New York State Empire Zone Program was created to stimulate economic growth through a variety of state tax incentives designed to attract new businesses to New York State and to enable existing businesses to expand and create more jobs. Qualified businesses are eligible to receive wage tax credits, investment tax credits, zone capital credits, a NYS sales tax refund, and various energy incentives as well as access to interest loans.

RDRC is the Zone Coordinator for the Rockaway Peninsula Empire Zone Program. This program was recently expanded in 2006 to include the Beach 116 Street commercial-retail corridor.

The NYS Main Street Program provides building owners with matching grant funds for the renovation of first floor commercial or civic space allowing up to $30,000 per building, with an additional $30,000 for each renovated residential unit, not exceeding 75 percent of the total project cost or $120,000 per building, whichever is less. Building renovation grants may be used for facade renovations and interior or exterior building improvements.

Main Street provides grants to building owners of up to $500,000 per building, but not exceeding 33 percent of project cost, to assist in establishing or expanding cultural, civic or business anchors that are identified in a local plan as key to local revitalization efforts.

The Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) provides abatements of real property taxes for varying periods up to 25 years for eligible industrial and commercial buildings that are built, modernized, rehabilitated, expanded, or otherwise physically improved.

To be eligible for benefits for commercial renovation, the applicant may be expanding, modernizing, or otherwise improving an existing structure. Applicants must make a minimum required expenditure (MRE) equal to at least 30 percent of the taxable assessed value of the project in the year of the issuance of the building permit or, if no permit is required, the start of construction. Applications must be processed before work permits are issued by the City.

The Temporary Pedestrian Street program is a community based initiative that closes streets to motor vehicles on weekend days, opening them to people and local businesses.

The benefits of involvement in the program include: collaboration of local merchants, community-based organizations, artists and musicians to provide programming; opportunity to promote and engage local businesses and organizations; and opportunity to enhance the retail shopping and dining experience with walking and outdoor activities.

For more information about RDRC Business and Real Estate Development Services, contact Janet Henriquez, director of Business and Professional Services at 718-327-5300.

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