Suffolk County is accepting applications for a new loan program aimed at helping small retailers locate in new mixed-use developments near Long Island Rail Road stations, County Executive Steve Bellone announced yesterday.
The First-Generation Transit-Oriented Development Retail Revolving Loan Fund seeks to aid independent retailers, particularly those displaced by the new buildings adjacent to train stations in Wyandanch, Patchogue and other communities. The buildings typically include retail space on the ground floor and apartments above.
The $300,000 fund will provide loans of between $20,000 and $75,000 with a fixed interest rate of 3 percent. Loans will last as long as the store’s lease but cannot be used to pay rent.
“By strategically supporting small business development around popular public transit hubs, we are bolstering the evolution of these communities into thriving downtowns,” said Bellone, who as Babylon Town supervisor was an early backer of the Wyandanch Rising development adjacent to the LIRR station.
The loan fund was established last year after county officials and developers learned that restaurants, delis, dry cleaners and other retailers couldn’t afford to return to their locations, which were demolished to make way for the new buildings, said Theresa Ward, Bellone’s commissioner of economic development. They lacked money to buy equipment, furniture, fixtures and other materials needed for the new storefronts, she said.
The county’s Economic Development Corp. approved the loan fund in August. It will be run with assistance from the Manhattan-based National Development Council.
Loans will be guaranteed by retailers and landlords. They will be approved by members of the development corporation’s board.
Applicants must complete a five-page form and provide documentation including copies of their most recent business and personal income tax returns and verification that income and payroll taxes have been paid.