Lower Manhattan: Back to Business

Our small businesses have been instrumental in making Lower Manhattan a premier place to work, live and visit. Now is the time for us to come together as a business community to help local businesses in need, to the benefit of all.

The challenge ahead is great, and the Downtown Alliance is encouraging anyone who believes in Lower Manhattan’s future to pitch in.

How are we doing this?

Yesterday, the Downtown Alliance launched the Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program to support retailers, restaurants and service providers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The Downtown Alliance has contributed the first $1 million to the program, under which grants will be awarded to qualifying small businesses that are located within Flood Zone A below Chambers Street.

Already, contributors to the program include: Goldman Sachs, Trinity Church, Citibank, The Durst Organization, The Howard Hughes Corporation, the FiDi Association, and other Lower Manhattan business leaders.

And we’re asking others to contribute to match – or even exceed – the $1 million we put in to start.


Because it’s important to help small business in our area. Just listen to what our first contributors have to say:

“Many small businesses Downtown have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath and are in urgent need of funds to rebuild and sustain their businesses,” said Timur Galen, global co-head of Corporate Services and Real Estate at Goldman Sachs. “Our commitment to the Downtown Alliance’s Back to Business Small Business Grant Program reflects our on-going initiative, 10,000 Small Businesses, which supports small business owners in the New York metro area and other cities across the country.”

“Trinity is proud to contribute to such an important endeavor,” said The Rev. Dr. James Cooper, Rector of Trinity Church. “The Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program is true to our mission to help our neighbors. Superstorm Sandy had such a serious impact on Lower Manhattan, and it takes both public and private partners to work together to recover and succeed.”

“Small businesses are part of the heart and soul of New York City and critical to the local economy and jobs,” said Jerome Byers, Head of Citi Small Business.  “As a neighbor in Lower Manhattan, we are proud to be a partner in the Back to Business Small Business Grant Program to help small businesses rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Citibank is dedicated to help small businesses thrive and grow.”

“We are proud to contribute to the Downtown Alliance’s Back to Business initiative,” said Jonathan (Jody) Durst, President of The Durst Organization. “Small businesses have made a tremendous contribution to Lower Manhattan, and it is critical for the vitality of the area that we get these businesses back on line.”

“We are united with the Downtown Alliance in this important initiative,” said David R. Weinreb, Chief Executive Officer of The Howard Hughes Corporation. “The Back to Business Small Business Grant Program will be instrumental in rebuilding these essential small businesses, which are the fabric of Lower Manhattan.”

“The FiDi Association is very thankful to have the opportunity to help aid our neighboring businesses that were affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Melissa Andreev, President of the FiDi Association. “Lower Manhattan is a very special area, and I believe many will agree that the Downtown Alliance goes above and beyond what is needed to maintain our strong sense of community. Thank you for all the hard work you have done keeping the residents and business owners informed so thoroughly on a daily basis during and after the hurricane.”

So who is eligible? Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grants will offer support of up to $20,000 to small businesses meeting the following requirements:

  • Located in Flood Zone A, on the south side of Chambers Street and below.
  • 50 or fewer employees.
  • Gross annual revenues of $5 million or less.
  • Open for at least a year (or have a 5-year lease).
  • Open at the time of application, or, for those located in buildings closed for storm-related reasons, scheduled to open by April 2013 (grants to be paid upon reopening).
  • Able to document loss and replacement costs not covered 100% by insurance or other reimbursement for property, equipment or inventory loss, or loss due to up to 10 days of street closures, lack of utility service or related conditions.

Applications for Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program will be available by December 1 and processed on a first-come, first-served appointment basis, for as long as funds are available, through December 31, 2012.

To review Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program requirements and submit an application, please visit www.downtownny.com/backtobusiness. For further questions about the program, email ContactUs@downtownny.com.

Although many small businesses were disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, the vast majority of Lower Manhattan’s retailers and restaurants are already back in business. This program recognizes the important role small business plays in the Lower Manhattan economy.