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Downtown Wheaton businesses can apply for Small Business Assistance for revenue losses during construction of new County office building, public garage and town square

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Applications and details of program now available on County web site that could help more than 90 local businesses continue to operate during three-year construction project

More than 90 businesses in Wheaton that may be impacted by the construction of a new 14-story Montgomery County office building and an adjacent town square will have an opportunity to receive an innovative form of help from the County to stabilize their businesses during the three-year construction period. Applications and more details about the program are now available and business owners can start applying for assistance.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Council joined together to create the Small Business Assistance Program to provide technical and financial assistance to qualified Downtown Wheaton businesses who can demonstrate an adverse financial impact since construction began in June on the “Wheaton Revitalization” project. The unique aspect of the County program will be that businesses owners will be eligible for financial assistance—up to a maximum of $75,000 over the construction period—for documented declines attributable to the project.

Businesses can apply for assistance through the County’s Department of Finance, which will oversee the program. Applications and program details are available, in English and Spanish (pdf), via the department’s web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/finance . Go to the link for “Small Business Assistance Program (pdf).”

The first of quarterly reimbursements could be made to business owners within weeks of applications being filed and reviewed.

The new 308,000 square-foot, LEED platinum certified Wheaton office building will be the relocated home of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which has long been located in Downtown Silver Spring. It also will house several County departments and will have retail operations on its ground floor.  The building is being constructed on the Parking Lot 13 site that is located between Grandview Avenue, Reedie Drive and Triangle Lane—an area between Veirs Mill Road and Georgia Avenue. 

The project is being led by the County’s Department of Transportation, which owns the site. It will include approximately 397 parking spaces in a four-level underground garage—more spaces than were available in surface lot being replaced by the new office building. Adjacent to the office building, a new 20,000 square-foot entertainment plaza will be constructed on the former site of the Mid-County Regional Services Center. The regional services center offices will be among those eventually relocated to the new office building.

“The purpose of this project is to be the starting point of refurbishing Downtown Wheaton and creating a new downtown that is vibrant day and night,” said County Executive Leggett. “Big plans sometimes have growing pains, and to ease the pain of the existing small businesses that we want to be part of the revitalized Wheaton, we have created this innovative program. Before this project began, we promised these businesses that have been the fabric of Downtown Wheaton that we would provide help to them, and through this program, we are doing just that in a way rarely found in any development project in the nation.”

The County Council previously enacted Bill 6-12 that created the Small Business Assistance Program. During its Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget discussions, the Council provided $200,000 in seed money for the program to assist the Wheaton businesses surrounding the construction site, many of which are single-proprietor operations and have Latino ownership.

“Small businesses are vital to our community and protecting them is a top priority,” said County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who represents Council District 4 that includes Downtown Wheaton. “This is why I sponsored Bill 6-12 creating the Small Business Assistance Program.  It will provide technical and financial assistance to eligible small businesses to offset any adverse impacts to them caused by the redevelopment of Lot 13.

“These are businesses that have served this community in so many ways for a very long time, so now they need our support to ensure that they get through the construction phase of this revitalization project.”

To qualify for assistance, businesses must complete the application and must provide three years of tax returns to establish an average financial baseline that can be evaluated against claims for lost revenue since the project’s formal start.

In addition to financial assistance, the Small Business Assistance Program will offer technical assistance to the impacted businesses. That assistance, which could provide long-term plans to help businesses well-beyond the construction period, will include updated marketing and business plans consistent with the changes brought during construction. The Latino Economic Development Center, the Maryland Small Business Development Center, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are working to provide the technical and marketing assistance to the businesses.

More information about the plan to revitalize Downtown Wheaton can be found at wheatonproject.com .

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Release ID: 17-439
Media Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6528