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NoMa Retail Opportunity Fund

The NoMa BID is offering grants between $5,000-$25,000 to enhance NoMa’s vibrant and evolving streetscape through the NoMa Opportunity Fund. These grants will support existing NoMa retailers while providing incentives for independent, small, locally owned businesses to establish stores in NoMa.

Program Goals

Activate NoMa Streets and Retail Corridors

Retrofit Existing Storefronts: Enhance the appeal of current retail establishments with façade improvements

Attract New Retail Tenants: Fill available retail spaces with an intentional mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences

Small Business Enrichment

A visually appealing and well-maintained storefront not only attracts pedestrians, leading to increased foot traffic, but also represents a neighborhood’s character, ultimately contributing to its overall vitality and economic success

Foster Diversity and Inclusivity

Cultivate an ecosystem wherein small businesses have a network of support and collaborative resources which contribute to each other’s success 

How It Works

The NoMa BID launched the NoMa Retail Opportunity Fund which is designed to support and incubate businesses in key retail spaces within the NoMa BID boundary. The Fund will provide grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000 to incentivize businesses to make targeted investments in their storefronts and adjacent public spaces, ultimately enhancing NoMa’s vibrant and evolving streetscape.

Applicants eligible to receive funding through the NoMa Retail Opportunity Fund include: 
  1. Retail tenants with a current lease in the NoMa BID 
  1. New retail tenants committed to obtaining a lease within the NoMa BID 

Interested parties are invited to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) detailing how their proposed project will contribute to the success of their business and contribute to NoMa’s retail vibrancy. An LOI must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on March 17, 2024, and BID staff will notify all LOI applicants by April 8, 2024 on the status of their application. 

All applications must propose a concept for a physical project. 

Grant awards will range from $5,000-$25,000 depending on the scale of the proposed project among other eligibility criteria and competitiveness.

Grant awards will vary depending on project scale and will be capped at not more than 50% of the total “permissible expenses” for the proposed retail project. Prior to final selection, applicants will be required to provide reasonable proof of funding for the remaining balance of the eligible project costs.

Applicant Eligibility Criteria

Geographic Boundary 

An applicants must have an existing retail space, or be dedicated to obtaining a retail lease, within the NoMa BID. For applicants with a new retail lease, the term of the lease must be at least five years. For applicants with existing leases, there must be at least three years remaining in the lease term. 

Community Impact 

An applicant must (or will) have a storefront presence (meaning ground-level, pedestrian accessible premises) within the NoMa BID such as, but not limited to, restaurants, bars, stores, services, entertainment, and experiential concepts. 

Duration of Ownership 

An applicant must have at least two+ years of retail ownership or experience with a positive track record and proven stability. 

Ownership Composition 

An applicant’s concept must be locally owned (meaning that not less than 51% of controlling interests must be owned by individuals residing within the National Capital Region). An applicant must be independently operated. National chains and franchises are not eligible to receive a grant from the NoMa Retail Opportunity Fund. 

Legal Structure & Compliance with Regulations 

An applicant must have no record of foreclosures, receiverships, bankruptcies, or similar actions within the last three years. 

Business Status 

An applicant must represent a for-profit business. 

Business Registration 

An applicant must be registered to do business in the District of Columbia. 

Business License 

An applicant must possess a valid business license for the District of Columbia. 

Project Eligibility Criteria

Eligible Premises 

Grant funds may only be used for “eligible premises” including enhancements to storefront appeal, and contributions to a more vibrant streetscape. 

Permissible Expenses 

Construction costs for improvements, signage/awnings (including outdoor dining enclosures), public space improvements (including sidewalks, streeteries, etc.), exterior lighting, exterior landscaping, painting, fixtures, and any furnishings affixed to the premises. 

Ineligible Expenses 

Soft costs (i.e., design and engineering), moving expenses, business operating costs and recurring expenses (such as, rent, payroll, utilities, subscriptions, taxes, insurance, etc.),inventory/cost of goods sold, furniture and businesses assets (i.e. furniture, appliances, business equipment, POS systems, etc.) 

Contact Information

For more information or questions about applying for this program, contact:

Brian Smith 
Senior Director of Planning and Economic Development 
(202) 961-6334 
[email protected] 

Danielle Contorer 
Senior Associate of Planning and Economic Development 
(240) 814-3480 
[email protected] 

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