Lower Manhattan Update

Here are a few important updates from The Department of Small Business Services, the NYC Economic Development Corp. and Con Edison.  For the latest updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on our website.

The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued the following update:

SBS and NYCEC have announced a set of services available to help small businesses recover from Hurricane Sandy. SBS will serve as the primary point of contact for an emergency loan program, and will deploy the SBS Business Outreach Team and Emergency Response Unit’s Large Scale Response Team to help reach all impacted small businesses in need of assistance. The full set of services include:

For small- to mid-sized businesses that have experienced business interruption, $5 million is available through an emergency loan program. Loans will be capped at $10,000. Businesses should contact NYC Business Solutions staff to find out more about the application and intake process. NYC Business Solutions Centers will also coordinate with community-based-organizations in severely affected areas to help businesses with the application process.

For mid- to large-sized businesses that need to begin recovery, an emergency sales tax letter from New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) will be available allowing forgiveness of New York City and New York State sales taxes to businesses on materials purchased for recovery efforts. IDA will also waive all fees and, while following State law, look to streamline its normal procedure. This program is expected to offer economic benefits to reconstruction projects costing $500,000 or more. Businesses can contact Shin Mitsugi at smitsugi@nycedc.com for further information on this program.

For any business temporarily displaced from its space, short-term “swing” office or storage space at Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT) is available free of charge for the next 30 days. NYCEDC has approximately 40,000 square feet of warehouse space at BAT that can be used for this purpose. Businesses in need of this space can seek additional information at www.nyc.gov/nycbusiness. Temporary space is also available at the Sunshine Bronx business incubator, one of the incubators within the City’s network, on a walk-in basis. The incubator is located at 890 Garrison Avenue in Hunts Point. In addition, NYCEDC is presently working with external partners, including the Partnership for New York City, to match displaced businesses with vacant properties in commercial space in order to get them up and running again. A website to help these businesses facilitate the program will be established in the coming days.

Federal Aid Programs for State of New York Disaster Recovery Loans are available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance, and for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster. More information can be found at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Information from the Federal Small Business Administration on disaster recovery assistance is also available at www.sba.gov.

All businesses in need of assistance due to Hurricane Sandy should contact NYC Business Solutions by filling out a Contact an Account Manager form.

The latest news release from Con Edison (as of 1255 PM today):

Con Edison said today that based on an assessment of the unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, it expects to restore the vast majority of customers who lost power by the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11. The remaining customer restorations could take an additional week or more.

About 900,000 customers served by underground and overhead electrical distribution equipment in New York City and Westchester County lost power due to the superstorm that walloped the area.

Con Edison crews have restored power to about 250,000 customers who were affected by the storm. As of 11 a.m., the company was working to restore power to about 650,000 customers still out of service.

Customers served by underground networks in Mid- to Lower Manhattan who lost power during the storm will have service by this Saturday.

Crews restoring service in those underground areas have pumped massive amounts of water out of the facilities. They must also clean all components of the seawater from the equipment. Equipment must be dried, repaired or replaced, and inspected before it can be safely put back into service.

In areas served by overhead electrical distribution equipment, crews have had to contend with more than 100,000 downed wires, as well as blocked roads and flooding.

But Con Edison is marshalling resources from near and far to conduct the largest customer restoration in its history. The company has commitments from more than 1,600 external contractors and mutual aid workers from as far west as California.

Most of these contractor and mutual aid crews have already arrived and the rest are expected to arrive in the next few days. Crews specialize in tree cutting, repairing overhead lines and underground equipment, as well damage assessments.

Customers should use extreme caution before going into a flooded basement. Know whether there are electrified services or unsanitary conditions and wear high rubber boots. Also, know how deep the water is and probe it with a wooden stick, if necessary, to gauge the depth. Keep children out of flooded basements.

Con Edison has assigned 1,000 site safety workers to monitor areas where there may be hazards.

Customers can report downed power lines, outages, and check service restoration status by computer or mobile device at www.conEd.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). When reporting an outage, it is helpful if customers have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power. Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.

Also, Con Edison is distributing dry ice at seven locations starting at Noon today to customers who are without power due to Hurricane Sandy. Dry ice is being distributed until supplies run out. The company will also have personnel at the locations (except the IBM Complex in Westchester County) to answer customers’ questions.

These are the locations:

Brooklyn
Walgreen’s, 532 Neptune Ave. (between W. 5th & 6th Streets)

Bronx
1840 Bogart Avenue

Queens
121-10 Rockaway Blvd.

Staten Island
The entrance to Great Kills Park on Buffalo Street

Westchester County
IBM Complex/Town Park at Business Park Dr. parking lot. Set GPS for 200 Business Park Drive.
Yonkers Raceway – 810 Yonkers Avenue

Manhattan
Union Square Park – 14th Street and Union Square West (South Side)

Instructions for safe handling and disposal of dry ice are printed on the bag for residents who pick up dry ice. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Keep children and pets safely away.

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