Project Restore, the State of Maryland’s $25 million economic recovery initiative to revitalize vacant retail and commercial spaces, is now accepting applications.
Applicants can apply on the Project Restore website now through Friday, Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. The application portal may close sooner if grant requests exceed the funding available, so applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
Project Restore is providing two grant opportunities for businesses planning on opening or expanding into previously vacant spaces:
Rental Assistance Grant: The maximum grant request amount is $30,000 for rent for one year (rental payment up to $2,500 per month) for qualified small business with 50 or fewer employees (full time equivalents). The applicant’s monthly rent can exceed $2,500, but the maximum that will be paid by the Rental Assistance Grant will be $2,500 per month for one year.
Business Operations Grant: The maximum grant award amount is $250,000 for one or two years for businesses that generate sales and use tax. Grant funds can be used for activities and costs related to sustaining and growing the business such as staff costs, capital improvements, marketing, inventory, supplies, and utilities cannot be used for executive salaries or bonuses. Grant awards will be paid quarterly and will be based on sales and use tax generated by and submitted to the state in 2022.
The program is administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Through Project Restore, the department will offer rental grants and sales tax relief rebates to help offset startup costs and incentivize commercial investment in vacant spaces. Businesses that begin new or expanded operations in spaces that have not been generating sales tax receipts for the past six months or more will be eligible for the program. Small businesses of 50 or fewer employees will be eligible for additional benefits.
Businesses in Tier 1 counties—which includes Baltimore City and any Opportunity Zone in Maryland—will be eligible to receive the rebate for two years of operation. Businesses in Tier 2 counties will be eligible to receive the rebate for the first full year of operation.
Additionally, small business applicants will be eligible for rental subsidies of $2,500 per month for 12 months—up to $30,000—to help offset start-up costs during the first year.
Eligibility Guidelines: To qualify for Project Restore, eligible entities must begin new or expanded operations in space that has not been generating sales tax receipts for the past six months or more. All applicants commit to occupying the space for a minimum of 12 months following receipt of the grant.
Governor Hogan released the following statement on the program: “Thanks to the hard work and the resilience of the people of Maryland and our small business community, our state has had one of the strongest economic recoveries in the nation, and Project Restore will help us build on that progress. With applications now open, I encourage all eligible local businesses and developers to apply for these financial incentives right away.”
You can read the Governor’s office press release here.