Small businesses and commercial developers can access a new $25 million state economic recovery program to revitalize vacant retail and commercial spaces in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Monday.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will offer rental grants and sales tax relief rebates to fix up vacant properties through the state’s new Project Restore initiative.
“Project Restore will help put more ‘open for business’ signs in storefront windows, create thousands of jobs, and transform neighborhoods and communities,” Hogan said in a statement. “This initiative is just one more shining example of how we aren’t just committed to fully recovering from this pandemic, we are committed to coming back stronger and better than ever before.”
To be eligible for the program, businesses must begin new or expanded operations in spaces that have not been generating sales tax receipts for at least the past six months. Applicants must commit to occupying the space for a minimum of 12 months after receiving the grant
Businesses in counties under “Tier 1” of the More Jobs for Marylanders program, including Baltimore City, and parts of Maryland in Opportunity Zones can receive a sales tax relief rebate equal to the business’s sales tax receipts for a 12-month period up to $250,000 per year for two years of operation. Businesses that are not in Tier 1 can receive a rebate for one year of operation.
Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can receive additional benefits, including rental subsidies of $2,500 per month for 12 months.