Commercial Corridor Challenge

Organization Name: Local Initiatives Support Corporation NYC

Project Title: Commercial Corridor Challenge

Project Location: New York City

Project Description:
The Commercial Corridor Challenge (Corridor Challenge) is a partnership of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NYC, Citi Community Development, and the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to strengthen commercial corridors and small businesses through strategic interventions. The program supplements SBS’s Neighborhood 360⁰ program, which strengthens and revitalizes the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations that anchor New York City neighborhoods. The Corridor Challenge supports small, locally-owned businesses and community-based organizations on corridors in three rapidly changing neighborhoods: Cypress Hills LDC on Fulton St. in East New York, Brooklyn; the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce on Bay St. on the North Shore of Staten Island, and WHEDco on Southern Blvd. in the Bronx. The program applies market-based retailing principles and carefully selected low-cost investments that increase pedestrian traffic and retail sales for local businesses. Financial assistance was customized for each site to support a suite of complementary improvements that together address corridor fundamentals, including safety, visibility, and promotion.

Community Impact:
The Corridor Challenge works to preserve small businesses as anchor cultural and economic institutions in changing neighborhoods and to build the capacity of community organizations. The completed projects included storefront improvements, such as new signage, lighting, and awnings, as well as public realm improvements, such as wayfinding, weeding, flowering planters, and other interventions designed to enhance the corridors, boost foot traffic, and contribute to a greater sense of community safety. Impact was measured through comprehensive consumer intercept surveys, electronic pedestrian counts, and conversations with participating merchants and local partners.

Pedestrian reported through surveys that their impressions of the corridors improved significantly, and participating business owners reported tangible positive impacts on their businesses. Juan Díaz, who received new signage, awning, and glass windows for his store J&F Mini Market on Fulton St., remarked, “The same day we finished installation of the windows, I immediately saw an increase in foot traffic coming to the store.” Additionally, local partners built capacity and strengthened or built relationships with local stakeholders.

Organization Description:
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a national nonprofit organization that works with residents and partners to forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. The local New York City program, LISC NYC has invested over $2.7 billion, leveraging an additional $6 billion in low-income communities.

Team Members:

LISC NYC, Citi Community Development, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Larisa Ortiz Associates, Cypress Hills LDC, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and WHEDco.

    The Fulton Street corridor from above

    Wayfinding sign promotes shopping on Southern Blvd

    New lighting, signage, and awnings on Bay St

    New sign, awning & storefront glass on Fulton St

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