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City Hall cuts first checks for businesses hit by 23rd Ave construction


23rdprojectareaapril2015The first checks totaling $150,000 have been delivered in the mitigation process to help Central District businesses around 23rd Ave survive months of construction to overhaul the street, the Seattle Times reports:

The owners of six businesses received $25,000 mitigation checks last week: Flowers Just 4 U, Magic Dragon, 701 Coffee, Earl’s Cuts and Styles, 99 Cent Plus and Midtown Coin Laundry, said Brian Surratt, Seattle Office of Economic Development director. Seven more businesses have completed intake forms and are planning to apply, Surratt said. Eight other owners have met with members of Surratt’s team, he said.

CHS reported in February on the $650,000 funding package assembled by the Mayor’s office and the Office of Economic Development to quell growing frustrations over the project to transform the street into a new configuration with a center left-turn lane and improve the pedestrian and sidewalk experience along 23rd Ave spanning Montlake, Capitol Hill, and the Central District.

The money was added to an earlier response involving marketing funding and better coordination with the city.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 2.55.44 PMThe $25,000 payouts are anything but a handout. CHS looked at the requirements on the stabilization program shaped by federal constraints that limited the types of business allowed to part of the financial mitigation. To be eligible, businesses must be located within a zone around 23rd Ave between E John and S King and 21st and 25th Ave, and must have been established before the start of the construction project. They also much be small businesses with five or fewer employees — including the owner. The federal grants behind a portion of the payouts added further limits requiring a majority of customers in a “service area where the total resident population is predominantly low and moderate income,” or owners with household incomes below 80% of the area median income. Finally, the business owner must show revenues have decreased since the start of construction.

We asked frequent critic of the Murray administration’s response — and recipient of one of the $25,000 stabilization fund checks — Sara Mae of 701 Coffee for her thoughts on the first wave of payouts:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.44.37 PMMeanwhile, more construction work is being planned to join the 23rd Ave upgrades. SDOT is planning to electrify a missing two-mile chunk along 23rd Ave to power Metro’s trolley fleet.

You can find out if your business is eligible for the 23rd Ave Stabilization Fund here.

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18 thoughts on “City Hall cuts first checks for businesses hit by 23rd Ave construction

    • It’s my duty to advocate for the 23rd Ave Small Businesses until everyone receives relief. The whole point in This push is to get the City to acknowledge they have just as much obligation to Small Businesses as they obligate themselves to Big Businesses along the waterfront, Amazon, Google, Vulcan etc.

      This has never only been about 701 Coffee. It has always been about 23rd Ave Small Businesses. 701 only got the attention because the social media campaign came out of the shop.

      If you don’t care for our Small Business tactics then I’m sure you equally don’t care for the behind the scenes lobbying tactics of the Big Businesses mentioned above…

      I will thank the Mayor the second the last person receives their relief.

      Many blessings,

      Sara Mae

    • “Big Businesses along the waterfront, Amazon, Google, Vulcan etc.”

      Are you joking. The waterfront is predominantly filled with small local business oriented towards tourists. Tourists bring a lot more money AND TAXES to our economy than poorly designed and managed neighborhood coffee shops. So YES, they deserve more of our support as they benefit our broader economy in a big way.

      Furthermore, a company like Amazon or Google has brought more economic growth and wealth to our common citizens and have paid for more of our schools and infrastructure than your business could ever do.

      So no I don’t care for your militant “Small business tactics” that seek to exploit the taxpayers to your selfish benefit. And yes I resent going to work so that part of my paycheck (however small that may be) can go into your pockets.

      There simply are some entities that are more important than others. A small neighborhood coffee shop that has done nothing to benefit society and has not invested in anything more than a coffee maker is not the same as an innovative company that employs 70000 people in Seattle alone and makes up a large portion of our local tax base.

      I will vote against the mayor for this policy in particular. And when there is construction in my neighborhood, don’t be offended when some of your income goes towards buying my new clothes and perhaps a vacation somewhere.

    • Since tax payer dollars are being used to fund 701 Coffee, I am sure sarah mae will be happy to share the financial history of her small business.
      Once we all see the negative effects that the 23rd ave construction has had on the business we will all understand the Mayors decision.

    • I have to admit that it’s these weird, offputting and factually baseless posts that keep me away from 701 Coffee more than construction, and I only live a couple blocks away.

    • Amazon, Google, et al employ thousands of people in this city and indirectly support many other businesses, big and small.

      A coffee shop is just a coffee shop. There’s literally a million of them in Seattle. But I suppose if you can’t make a go of it, you might as well try for some welfare to postpone the inevitable. I probably would.

      But you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you, and you shouldn’t presume to speak for the neighborhood. And you might want to do something about that anger problem…..

  1. Do not dare ask for public assistance if you are not a woman or minority owned business. The City of Seattle does not count you as a person.

    And also please do not put together a business plan. Feel free to open a worthless business anywhere you like and we will bail you out.

    Maybe Bernie should be railing against the bailout of selfish Seattleites.

    Watch most of these businesses disappear even when the gleaming new road is done. Garbage in garbage out with things like this.

  2. Lets all start writing to the City for blank checks. Might as well. Just say your ancestors were persecuted in whatever corner of the world you are from and identify yourself as being special because you are 1/84th of some self-defined ethnicity and we will not only give you money, we will open a city department with a budget of $2M dedicated to painting crosswalks in your honor.

  3. And I assume the city will be having a special tax assessment on the local businesses who will benefit the most from this rebuild of 23rd? I certainly hope so.

  4. 701 Coffee and these other small biz with their hands out are lucky to operate in a city like Seattle. Most places in the US would laugh these requests right out of town.

    Let’s be honest… this handout is just buying some time for these businesses that aren’t going to make it anyway. Horrible location for a coffee shop, for instance. If the place isn’t a front for some other sort of “business” then the writing is already on the wall…

    • CD Resident, that incident doesn’t do much to support your point. In fact, it seems she was pretty well justified. Nonetheless, it has nothing to do with this coffee shop anyway. Not sure what point you’re trying to make, but whatever it is, it sounds irrelevant.

  5. I’d be willing to wager that 701 coffee has gotten more money from the city of Seattle than actual sales they’ve generated in their entire history

    • 701 Coffee is a pretty new business. Look into their story- it’s a family that’s worked incredibly hard to get to where they are. I’m not sure why they’re getting so much hate here.

    • DM – The plight of the small business in Seattle is real and there are businesses that have suffered all over Seattle due to construction (or gentrification as sara mae is fond of calling it). However, 701 coffee is not one of those businesses because there was never any business to be disrupted by the construction. The owners of 701 coffee decided to open a business on one of the worst corners in the CD,in a building that is up for sale knowing full well about the construction that was starting just a few months after opening. Now this is Seattle so is it not unreasonable to think that a vegan coffeeshop could make a go of it(I still mourn the loss of the Globe and Gravity Bar) but starting a business with a Go fund me account and no business plan is not one of them. And now the owners have their hand out asking for my tax dollars to subsidize their poor decisions and not in pleasant way. They are using minority status to get attention (what that has to do with construction hurting business is well beyond my understanding) and are claiming to be “the voice of the CD”. As someone who has lived and loved the CD for over 20 years, this kind of behavior is not indicative of the people and the businesses that I so love about the CD. This is why this is such a derisive issue. But you are right, we should look into their story, all of it including this part
      Does this sound like the kind of person who is interested in opening a business to help build community in the CD? Someone that shows compassion for all things? You can live the life that you want to live, but when you start taking money from my pocket to subsidize that life I get to have an opinion.

  6. Earl’s Cuts and Styles, 99 Cent Plus and Midtown Coin Laundry are losing business because Midtown Center is dirty and unsafe, not because there is construction on 23rd. You can easily access these businesses from Union and Spring. I cannot believe that taxpayer dollars are supporting these businesses while the owner of the property continues to allow gang activity and drug dealing on their property. Shame on them. Also, Magic Dragon is in the same strip mall as Starbucks and Walgreens. Both of these businesses look pretty busy. It is easy to access this center via Jackson and there is plenty of parking. Does this business really need a handout? What a waste of taxpayer dollars. The money would have been better spent fixing the sidewalks in the Central District.

  7. I suspect 701 is catching flak because they chose to open a shop in that location just before construction started, a pretty big screw up in such a high stakes business that could have been easily avoided with a little research.