Raleigh sees record number of applicants for Building Up-fit Grant amid pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Raleigh established a Building Up-fit Grant four years ago with a purpose of supporting commercial property interior improvements.

The city takes applications for the grant each quarter.

"Since we started it, we've had 55 different grant awards that have gone out," Mark Weldon, City of Raleigh Economic Development Manager, said. "Specifically, what it's for, is up fitting the interior of a commercial space.

"And, it's a one-to-one grant, a dollar-for-dollar grant which means that for every dollar that you spend on a project, the City of Raleigh will reimburse you for one of those dollars," Weldon added. "So, we might pay for up to half of a project up to a grant limit of $15,000, and if you're in an economic priority zone, that would be $25,000, the grant maximum."

Amid the pandemic, the City of Raleigh is seeing a record number of applicants in the first few days of the first quarter grant cycle, which runs August to October 2.

"In the fourth day of this grant cycle, we have seen as many applications, as we did in the entire last cycle, which is six weeks long," Weldon said. "So, in four days we've seen the same number of applications as we saw in six weeks last time. Clearly, there's a large appetite for any kind of financial support that small businesses can get."

The rise in applications likely caused by many businesses pivoting to stay afloat in the downturn.

The grant is for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees and can be used for buildouts, including businesses changing their model in the COVID-19 crisis. The city has $125,000 available for this grant cycle.
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