WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - When gentrification takes hold of a neighborhood, it's not just homeowners and renters that get pinched out, but long-time businesses as well. For that reason, a D.C. Councilmember has created a bill that would offer up to $50,000 to older businesses, to offset their increasing rent costs.
"For residents we have a lot of programs in place," said Councilmember Brianne Nadeau.
"That could be tax breaks. Could be down payment assistance... But we haven't done that for new businesses, and businesses are going through the same issues."
The bill, which was filed last week, is likely not to be voted on until the fall. It would create a program that would distribute grants or loans to businesses that are over a decade old. These businesses would have to be "financially healthy," to the point where they could pay for rent, if it weren't for the increases. The grants or loans could not exceed $50,000.
"It's to make sure these business corridors do not become completely unrecognizable," she said.
"To the people that live in them, and know them, and love them."
Jocelyne DeHaas, works for the company that owns Tryst, The Diner, Open City, and The Coupe. Some of those restaurants would be eligible for the money, because they've been around for close to two decades. She said the bill would help preserve the "character" of the community.
"Our first business, Tryst, opened in 1998," she said.
"And rents have continued to go up every year.... It's a nickel and dime at the end of the day business - and when there's more dimes going to rent, it's hard to keep up."
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