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New Program Helps Small Businesses Acquire Property

The City of Atlanta now offers a new $3.5 million loan program to help local small businesses build equity. Through the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (CDPA), Atlanta small businesses are eligible to apply for a direct loan of up to 20% of commercial property costs up to $200,000 to acquire commercial property.

The CDPA program is the third initiative that United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta have rolled out as a part of the Atlanta Open for Business Fund, supported by Wells Fargo. The fund is made possible by a $20 million donation from Wells Fargo to help the owners of Atlanta small businesses own more of their businesses’ assets – including property and equipment – and fund physical upgrades to their facilities. United Way and Invest Atlanta are distributing the Atlanta Open for Business Fund as a mix of grants and loan programs with a focus on Black-owned and other diverse-owned businesses.

Healthy, thriving local businesses are a cornerstone of Atlanta communities. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens noted that “Inflation and economic strains resulting from the pandemic have made many small businesses increasingly vulnerable to displacement,” says Dickens. “The Atlanta Open for Business Fund is designed to help Atlanta businesses keep their doors open and expand and develop a resiliency that withstands unforeseen economic challenges.”

CDPA loan recipients must be an existing small business with a City of Atlanta business license interested in acquiring commercial real estate in the city of Atlanta with emphasis in low-income census tracts, Federal Opportunity Zone areas, disadvantaged neighborhoods or a New Markets Tax Credit-approved area neighborhood. Businesses must also demonstrate growth potential in their industry.

Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, says the timing of programs like the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program and other companion resources are crucial because an estimated 25% of businesses do not open again after a major disaster like a global pandemic. “What we are doing with the support of Wells Fargo is offering small businesses resources that give them the means to withstand economic uncertainty to build long-term wealth,” says Klementich.

In June, United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta successfully launched the first Atlanta Open for Business program – the Atlanta Recovery Loan Program (ARLP) – that provides 3% interest loans to small businesses interested in acquiring tangible business assets. The Commercial Property Improvement Grant (CPIG) was launched in August, providing grants for small businesses of up to $50,000 for exterior and interior enhancements to their business.

“Supporting racially and ethnically diverse small business owners is essential to the equitable growth of our communities and to the economic success of Greater Atlanta,” said Milton J. Little, Jr., president and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “It’s through partnerships like ours with Wells Fargo, the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta that we are able to give small businesses in our city the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.”

To learn more about and apply for the Atlanta Commercial Down Payment Assistance Loan Program, small business owners should visit dkpfkp.xyhlw.net/cdpa. Small businesses interested in the program may request assistance with their application through Invest Atlanta by visiting www.atlinbusiness.com.

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