Business Preservation Assistance Program

Business Preservation Assitance Program

The Business Preservation Assistance Program (BPAP) is an initiative designed to help DC’s culturally-vital small businesses avoid displacement as neighborhoods across the city continue to gentrify.

The Need

  • DC ranked first in the intensity of gentrification
  • Local businesses often see their rents raised by 20-30% in one year
  • Older buildings are being demolished or redeveloped as high-end space more suitable to chains
  • Loss of locally owned and operated businesses undermines place identity and has resulted in commercial corridors marked by cultural homogenization

The Solution

  • BPAP will provide a means for local small businesses to buy instead of lease their buildings
  • Emphasis will be placed on maximizing development potential for small business in order to make the ownership opportunity as affordable as possible
  • Working with the small business and the local community the BPAP team will help bring together mission-driven social impact investors, community developers, and local business owners to achieve this objective.


BPAP Implementation Plan

Phase 1:  Community input, program development, and feasibility assessment

Phase 2:  Pilot to prove the viability of approach and to quantify the impact and resource needs

Phase 3:  Attract resources to scale program


Affordable Tenancy Options

Commercial Condos: The properties developed to include commercial condominiums for future purchases by small business owners.  This model also allows for mixed-use, multi-level developments that more readily attract investors in higher-earning components.

Master LeaseThe commercial space for eligible small business owners could be master-leased to a public-private partnership, which would then sub-let the space: the master-lease would address the credit risk to the developer and investor.

Community Land Trust: The land underlying the development could be owned and stewarded by a community land trust to maintain the on-going affordability of the retail space