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A coat of paint or power-washing the windows can go a long way in attracting customers to a business. Now, business and property owners in Hollywood can apply for loans to fix up their storefronts through a new program launched on June 3 by the Los Angeles City Council and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRALA).
The program will provide loans of up to $200,000 to finance new signage, paint or upgrade facades, or complete other exterior improvements that will make the businesses look better.
“The program targets small businesses and property owners with loans they can use to fix up their storefronts, helping improve the attractiveness of the entire neighborhood,” said Chris Essel, CEO of the CRA/LA. “Our Hollywood project area has become home to major CRA/LA-backed initiatives, such as the W Hotel and the Hollywood & Highland Complex. This program will help the area’s smaller, older operations thrive by creating more inviting facilities to draw in visitors.”
The CRA/LA has $1.5 million available to loan through the Hollywood Commercial Property Enhancement Program, and the conditional loans will not require repayment if the property owner maintains the property 10 years and meets other contractual obligations. The CRA/LA has a Compliance Unit that oversees the loans and ensures the recipients are using the money for what it was intended. If not, the CRA/LA requires the money to be paid back, which is outlined in the contract with the business or property owners.
“The idea is to provide small businesses with help in gussying up the place a little bit, and making it more inviting to the millions of people who visit Hollywood each year,” said David Bloom, a spokesperson for the CRA/LA. “It is designed to help small businesses become more competitive. It will support a business owner who wants to upgrade, or a property owner who wants to make their place more leasable. It is designed to make the smaller fish swim well.”
The loans will be available in the CRA/LA project area, with the boundaries of Franklin Avenue on the north, Serrano Avenue on the east, Santa Monica Boulevard and Fountain Avenue to the south, and La Brea Avenue to the west. The loans augment the Hollywood Entertainment District’s (HED) “Hollywood Facelift” program, which assists business and property owners in identifying reliable contractors who can complete improvements, as well as supplying materials and providing consultation about design and marketing.
“It absolutely dovetails with ‘Hollywood Facelift’ initiative,” said Sarah MacPherson, associate executive director of the HED. “The program the CRA is offering is for the physical improvements of the building itself, and it goes hand-in-hand with the improvements we are working on.”
MacPherson said an example of the improvements is the Bettie Page Clothing store located at 6650 Hollywood Blvd. The store was recently remodeled, and roll-up doors were removed from the front, allowing for ambient light to filter in and out, MacPherson said.
MacPherson added that the HED is planning a seminar for Hollywood business and property owners on June 29 at 8:30 a.m. that will offer information about improving their businesses. The seminar will be held at the Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd. For information, call (323)463-6767, or visit www.hollywoodbid.org.
City Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District, said the CRA/LA’s new program will provide a boost to businesses that may be struggling.
“This new program will give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to improve their businesses and continue Hollywood’s revitalization, even in these tough times,” Garcetti added.
Bloom added that the CRA/LA’s similar loan programs held previously in the San Fernando Valley, Little Tokyo and North Hollywood were well received by owners. For information and applications for the loans, contact the CRA/LA’s Hollywood Regional Office at (323)960-2660.
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