About the Grant Program
The purpose of the Main Street Business Relocation Grant Program is to help defer the costs of physically moving an existing business to a vacant storefront or to assist in the start-up of a new business in a vacant storefront.
The City of Laurel provides these grants to help business succeed and grow in the Main Street business area and in the process continue to provide and create local jobs for residents of the greater Laurel area.
The redevelopment of the Main Street area and the retention of commercial uses is crucial to maintaining an economically strong Main Street; a commercial area where the image, appearance, and environment encourage walkability and attract shoppers.
For grant purposes, the Main Street Relocation Grant area is described as Main Street from First Street to Seventh Street, and includes Main Street’s side streets from U. S. Route 1 North to Fourth Street; also U.S. Route 1 and Second Street from the Patuxent River to Bowie Road.
The goal of this program is to help new business owners who are moving into the City of Laurel or relocating from another location Laurel or to locate a new business in the Main Street area to help defer a variety of cost. The City’s interest in providing these grants is to help business succeed and grow in the Main Street business area and in the process continue to provide local jobs and create new jobs for residents of the greater Laurel area as businesses grow.
The redevelopment of particular parcels of land and the retention of commercial uses is crucial to maintaining an economically strong Main Street, a commercial area where the image, appearance, and environment encourage the attraction of shoppers.
The application packet consists of a statement of the grant policy, instructions to applicants, and an application form. It is the intention of the Department of Economic and Community Development to make the application process as easy as possible.
The application packet contains application instructions and an application form. It is the intention of the Department of Economic and Community Development to make the application process as easy as possible.
Eligible Costs may include moving costs (truck rental or professional mover), connection and transfer of new utility services, installation costs of equipment required for the business, but not the equipment itself; interior remodeling of new location, exterior signs, and other moving incidentals. Eligible costs may also include rent differential for a like or similar location (square footage, quality, location, visibility) for either six months or the balance of the lease (whichever is greater), but no longer than thirty-six (36) months. Professional, engineering, architectural and permit fees may also be included in the relocation costs.
The following businesses are allowed to apply for the Program:
- Apparel/Shoe Store
- Coffee shop
- Ice Cream Shop
- Full Service/Fine Dining Restaurant
- Grocery Store/Gourmet Food Store
- Health Club/Yoga Studio
- Entertainment/Family Fun
For a property owner to be eligible for the grant, a Rent Relief Agreement must exist between the property owner and tenant. A copy of a five (5) year lease stating terms of rent relief, Proof of Ownership, and the tenants five (5) year business plan must be provided with application.
For a tenant to be eligible for the grant, the tenant must provide a copy of a five (5) year lease agreement, a five (5) year business plan, and a Redevelopment Agreement between themselves and the property owner.
Only one (1) grant can be awarded per address in a three (3) year period. Subsequent applications must be an expansion or enhancement of a business that received a prior grant. Grants applications will be accepted only as long as grant funds are available.
Once approved, an applicant for the grant program is eligible to receive a grant for reimbursement of eligible expenses not to exceed $10,000. The Mayor may present to the City Council a request for property tax credit up to one-hundred percent (100%) for those new businesses consistent with the goals of the City, i.e., restaurants, bakery, ice cream shop, newsstand, or retail not currently present. The property owner shall agree to use the tax credit for property improvements and/or business promotion. The tax credit shall not exceed three (3) years. The Mayor shall determine which requests are eligible for a tax credit.
Grants applications shall be reviewed by the City Administrator, Director of Budget and Personnel Services, and Director of Economic and Community Development (review is to assure zoning, building permits, and application completion). Grant award amount will be recommended to the Mayor for approval. The Mayor may waive permit fees to achieve the goals of the Program.
The applicant must first have a pre-application meeting with a representative from the Department of Economic and Community Development to determine eligibility. Once determined eligible to apply, the applicant can submit a completed application accompanied by any preliminary plans, including sample materials, color samples and cost estimates of the eligible expenses. All plans must follow appropriate design guidelines and code requirements. Improvements made prior to the approval of the application and execution of the agreement are ineligible for reimbursement.
Please call (301) 725-5300 ext. 2302 for further information, copies of any documents, or to set up an appointment to discuss eligibility.
All improvements must conform to all Building Codes, Zoning Regulations, and Historic District Commission Guidelines of the City of Laurel and to criteria developed for this Program.
The business owner or property owner must complete the application, and be prepared to comply with all City regulations. The Department of Economic and Community Development will administer the Main Street Business Relocation Grant Program.