New Grant Program For Downtown Businesses Hurt by Hurricane Sandy

On Stone Street, Downtown Alliance president Liz Berger announces the availability of grants for smaller businesses below Chambers Street. Photo by Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

A pot of more than $1 million in cash grants of up to $20,000 each is coming to the aid of Lower Manhattan’s smaller businesses hurt by Hurricane Sandy.

The Back to Business Small Business Assistances Program, sponsored by the Downtown Alliance, announced Monday, Nov. 19, that it has donated $1 million to a fund meant to help restaurants, retailers and service providers recover from the storm.

The Alliance is looking for other businesses and groups to chip in. Contributions by the Durst Organization, Trinity Wall Street, the Howard Hughes Corporation, CitiGroup and others with a stake in Lower Manhattan has added about another $500,000 to the fund, according to an Alliance source.

For businesses to qualify, the Alliance has established these requirements:

• Located in Flood Zone A on the south side of Chambers Street or below

• 50 or fewer employees

• Gross annual revenues of $5 million or less

• Open at the time of application, or located in buildings closed for storm-related reasons

• Scheduled to open by next April

• Able to document the loss and replacement costs not totally covered by insurance or other reimbursements, or losses due to up to 10 days of street closures due to the storm.

Funds will be made available on a first-come appointment basis, Downtown Alliance president Liz Berger said at a press briefing on Stone Street. By the end of the month, she said, the Alliance will post an application online at and announce where business owners can meet for their interviews. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.

“Our goal is to get the money out there quickly,” Berger said.