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Affordable Commercial Space

Incentives offer help to minority businesses

Zachary Senn | 7/5/2017, 1:41 p.m.
A new Affordable Commercial Tenanting Program by the city’s economic development agency addresses a dramatic increase in retail rents and ...
Workers build Alberta Commons, a new retail site on the corner of Northeast Martin Luther King and Alberta Street. The property will include affordable commercial space for minority and other underrepresented businesses. Zachary Senn/The Portland Observer

A new Affordable Commercial Tenanting Program by the city’s economic development agency addresses a dramatic increase in retail rents and a decrease in vacancy rates which have resulted in the displacement of small businesses from urban neighborhoods.

Under the program, Prosper Portland seeks to assist underrepresented businesses, preserve the vitality of small businesses, provide business development opportunities that offer needed goods and services to the community, and advance the agency’s goal to build an equitable economy. “This new tenanting program offers small, diverse businesses access to affordable commercial space. It demonstrates our new approach to projects to ensure that we’re generating equitable outcomes from our investments and contributing to shared prosperity throughout Portland,” said Prosper Portland director Kimberly Branam.

The program is currently available at two sites in Lents Town Center in southeast Portland. It will expand to include Alberta Commons in northeast Portland and a site in downtown Portland.

The program offers qualified businesses an equitable application process, access to space, and in some cases additional incentives designed to lower the barriers to entry for emerging and small businesses, such as reduced rent, tenant improvement contributions and technical assistance.

Priority businesses are those led by owners who are diverse in terms of race, genders and other demographics typically underrepresented in the business community, and who provide needed business services to the local community.

Applications to the program are now being accepted. The reviews of applications will begin on Aug. 1, followed by a rolling, first-come first-serve review process until all spaces are filled. For more information, contact program manager Leila Aman at amanl@prosperportland.us or 503-823-3305