In an effort to continue building the thriving Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District, the neighborhood of Collinwood has announced its newest development initiative, called ActiVacant. This new program is a business development project designed to incubate five new businesses into the East 185th Street Business District located in North Shore Collinwood over the next three years.
"What we need are businesses that can examine what we have here on 185th Street and try and get the walking traffic, then go online and get customers from other avenues," said merchant and landlord, Frank Barresi, of Martin's Men's Wear.
The ActiVacant program also includes a variety of incentives, including a tier-based rental structure that begins with a three-month, $0 rent rate that increases incrementally to fair market value within 24 months. In addition, the businesses are also eligible to receive semi-annual monetary incentives totaling up to $3,000 by attending merchant meetings and promoting ActiVacant throughout the community. Also included is assistance, guidance, and support from Northeast Shores Development Corporation and outside business mentors.
"We are very excited about this program in Collinwood. For landlords, this also is a great program because it secures a tenant for at least the next three years, and it helps fill up to five currently vacant storefronts with vetted tenants," said Brian Friedman, executive director at Northeast Shores Development Corporation. "With ActiVacant, this program covers approximately 50 percent of the three-year tiered rental, taking a healthy amount of pressure off the landlords. It's really a win-win for both the startups and the existing landlords in the neighborhood. We are excited to see what the possibilities are with this entrepreneurial venture."
Qualifications to participate in the ActiVacant program include a solid business plan, an online sales component, and an agreement to participate in the filming of a documentary that will help promote their business, entrepreneurship and East 185th Street.
"I would like to see other substantial businesses open, and we would like to help them get started," said Barresi.
The program's sponsors include PNC Bank and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
To sign up to be considered for the program, applicants must fill in and return a completed application to Northeast Shore Development Corporation:
-by 5 p.m. on Aug. 14 to USPS to
Northeast Shores Development Corporation
Attn: Charlie Kamen
317 E. 156th St.
Cleveland, OH 44110
For other questions, call 216-481-7660.