Downtown Alliance Launches Small Business Rental Assistance Grant

Downtown Alliance Launches Small Business Rental Assistance Grant

The Alliance for Downtown New York is launching the Small Business Rental Assistance Grant program to offer immediate help to storefront businesses currently providing vital services to residents and essential workers in Lower Manhattan during the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and The Howard Hughes Corporation, the Downtown Alliance's Small Business Rental Assistance Grant will give Lower Manhattan's small businesses access to $800,000 in grants. The Small Business Rental Assistance Grant program is part of the Alliance's ongoing small business relief efforts. 


Businesses can apply starting Friday, May 1 at 9a ET at 


"The Alliance has long worked to nurture the growth of local retail, and that focus will continue to drive our recovery efforts," said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin. "There is not one storefront business in New York City that has been spared by COVID-19. Every one of them is struggling. We are stepping up to do what we can to help our stores keep their lights on. We know there are a number of landlords trying to work with tenants, and we hope all property owners will be as flexible and creative as they can be at this challenging time."


The Downtown Alliance is contributing $250,000 from redirected funds within its annual budget, and from outside its assessment collection, to support the Small Business Rental Assistance Grant program. Additional funding is being made available through neighborhood partners Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and The Howard Hughes Corporation. The individual grants will offer $10,000 each to small businesses as a single direct payment to be applied to April or May rent. Businesses must meet the following requirements and provide appropriate documentation:


  • Currently be open and providing an "essential" service as defined by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the PAUSE order of March 22

  • Located on the ground floor within the BID's boundaries

  • Be an independent business with five or fewer locations in New York City

  • Fewer than 20 employees as of March 1, 2020

  • Gross annual revenue below $1.5 million

  • Current lease at their current location through December 31, 2020

  • Provide proof of using this grant towards rent

Applications are available starting Friday, May 1 at 9a ET on a first-come, first-served basis, until May 15 or until funding has been exhausted. Required documentation will include: 2019 4th Quarter 941, relevant lease agreement pages and the main pages from the business's most recently filed IRS business tax return, showing its annual gross revenues.  


"Brookfield is committed to Lower Manhattan and to doing what we can to help build bridges for its small businesses – such a big part of what makes Downtown a great place – to survive and recover," said Ric Clark, Chairman of the Brookfield Property Group and Chairman of the Alliance for Downtown New York. "We're proud to be joined by Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corporation in supporting this Alliance for Downtown New York initiative. Lower Manhattan has come back again and again from steep challenges. We know it will again." 


"Lower Manhattan is one of the greatest neighborhoods in the world, thanks in large part to its dynamic mix of restaurants, shops, bars and other small businesses," said Larry A. Silverstein, Chairman, Silverstein Properties. "Downtown's businesses have been through a lot over the past two decades, but we are resilient, and will once again come back better and stronger than ever. Until that time, we need to stand together, which makes me grateful for this opportunity to directly support our most treasured local establishments."


"Our city's vibrant neighborhood businesses are the lifeblood of our economy," says Saul Scherl, President of the New York Tri-State Region, The Howard Hughes Corporation. "The Howard Hughes Corporation is proud to support the Downtown Alliance's newly created grant program to help essential small businesses hard-hit by COVID-19. Lower Manhattan has been through the toughest of times, and has always found a way to rise again. These grants will ensure these important local businesses are ready and able to drive New York City's post-pandemic economic recovery."


The Small Business Rental Assistance Grant is part of a continuing effort by the Alliance to support businesses that are being adversely impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The Alliance is actively working to help Lower Manhattan's business community weather this painful temporary shut-down: educating local business owners about available funding opportunities, convening working groups, communicating which businesses are open to residents and spotlighting essential workers who are making a difference. Efforts will continue throughout the recovery phase with dedicated marketing programs and initiatives to help turn the lights back on across the neighborhood.