Mayor Harrell and Office of Economic Development expand Seattle restoration program to activate vacant retail storefronts beyond downtown

Applications are now being accepted from small business owners, artists and entrepreneurs to activate 45 new retail storefronts.

Seattle (July 25, 2022) — The City of Seattle Economic Development Office (OED) and Mayor Bruce Harrell announced the expansion of Seattle restored—an economic stimulus program that matches small business owners, artists and entrepreneurs with vacant storefronts to accommodate pop-up shops and short-term art installations. OED was originally launched Seattle restored in partnership with Seattle Bargain Network and Shunpike in December 2021 and focused on activating vacant retail storefronts in downtown Seattle neighborhoods such as Westlake, Belltown, Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District (CID) – prioritizing business owners Black, Indigenous and other businesses, entrepreneurs and artists of color. Now, Seattle Restored will activate 45 additional vacant commercial properties in Seattle neighborhoods with vibrant and engaging streetscapes that encourage the public to visit neighborhoods, support local businesses, and support local artists. Additionally, 15 of the 30 current leases of Seattle Restored participants will be extended for an additional 6 months due to landlord interest in continuing the program, giving participating contractors more time to assess their ability and interest in continuing. a longer term lease.

“Activating once vacant spaces with opportunities for small businesses, local artists and new entrepreneurs is how we can reinvigorate our Seattle economy, improve public safety and generate equity – all at the same time,” said Mayor Harrell. “Expanding the Seattle Restored program across the city and beyond downtown means more neighborhoods, business districts and communities are benefiting from renewed engagement and activity. We are excited to expand this program, expand the outlets for the expression of creative visions and big ideas, and encourage everyone to visit, explore and enjoy all that Seattle has to offer.

Seattle’s current restored pop-up located in Pioneer Square

The first phase of Seattle Restored is supporting the activation of 30 vacant storefronts with engaging pop-up shops and art installations from local entrepreneurs, artists and makers in downtown neighborhoods. During the second phase of the program, interested business owners, artists and entrepreneurs can apply for the following types of activations for Seattle properties:

  • Pop-up shop – Run your own business in vacant commercial space.
  • art installation – Exhibit and sell your artwork via QR code from a street-facing storefront.
  • Window shopping with QR code – Advertise and sell your products via a QR code from a storefront facing the street.
  • Collective pop-up store – Share space with other Seattle Restored participants in a collective retail marketplace.
  • Residence Pop-Up Restaurant – Manage your own restaurant residence for a month in a vacant commercial space.

“The revitalization of our neighborhood business districts is a top priority, so I am thrilled to welcome this expansion of Seattle’s restored program into neighborhoods across the city,” said Council Member Sara Nelson, Chair of the Economic Development, Technology and Street Lighting Committee. “Helping artists and small businesses who often struggle to pay commercial rents brings new energy to the neighborhood’s business districts. In addition, residents’ access to these artists and businesses improves everyone’s quality of life. Seattle Restored makes Seattle a better place to live.

Program participants will receive $2,500 in working capital to help set up the retail space and will receive additional support, including retail space development, marketing strategy development and execution, and other forms of technical assistance (eg product inventory management, customer development strategies in new markets) .

Applications are due August 26, 2022. Virtual information sessions regarding the application process and the program will take place on:

  • July 28 at 5:30 p.m. This session will be available in English and Spanish.
  • August 23 at 5:30 p.m. This session will offer ASL and bilingual interpretation support in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese will be available for this session (must request 10 days in advance).

To learn more about the program and to apply, go to

For accommodations, accessibility information, or assistance with language access, interested applicants may contact the Seattle Office of Economic Development at 206-684-8090 or [email protected]

“Last April, we visited several restored Seattle popups in Pioneer Square and downtown, like Taswira and INSIDE, to see how these incredible entrepreneurs were able to bring their visions to life and breathe new life into surrounding communities. This is why we are so excited to expand the program to activate additional commercial spaces throughout the city – we are rebuilding our economic ecosystem,” said Markham McIntyre, acting director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development. “Seattle Restored is a great example of the connection point role our office can play in helping connect business owners looking for retail space with vacant storefronts. Our job is to help them find an affordable space that meets their needs so they can succeed and grow.

While Seattle Restored phase two expands to activate commercial properties throughout the city, the focus will be on activating new neighborhoods like Little Saigon, Southeast Seattle, and Ballard in addition to Downtown, Pioneer Square, Belltown and Chinatown-International District. For homeowners, participation is free and Seattle Restored will provide a one-time fixed payment of $2,000 plus $500 to offset utility costs. Owners interested in activating their space through the Seattle Restored program can complete the owner interest form.

Mayor Harrell and INSDIE social entrepreneur and creative visionary Sierra Jones.

“The Inside was a vision I had been working on long before Seattle Restored. This program allowed me to pitch my concept and receive the support needed to make it a reality. The partnership with Seattle Restored allowed me to getting retail space in downtown Seattle that I otherwise couldn’t afford. Seattle Restored has allowed me to amplify over 40 local brands and artists and create a space for the community to come together and to explore, create and heal through our events. said INSDIE social entrepreneur and creative visionary Sierra Jones. “This program has given me a chance to achieve my dreams, and we have taken a huge step forward in creating something that is sustainable. I can reinvest our profits back into the business instead of having to go into the red by trying to cover overhead. Funds that I would otherwise have spent on rent, I have been able to reinvest in opportunities that help grow the business in a sustainable way.

“Participating in the Seattle Restored program has been a wonderful opportunity for us to reconnect with downtown Seattle by engaging people through our facility and physically spending time on site working there.” said Plamena Milusheva, participating artist. “It’s been a way of joining the downtown fabric in a new capacity and contributing to it more directly than when we went to our office buildings before the pandemic. It would be amazing to see the program continue to grow and evolve, becoming a more permanent part of downtown life and art.

Many Seattle neighborhoods have seen business closures and vacant commercial space that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Seattle Restored aims to mitigate that damage and help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists activate business showcases, regain their financial health, and gain exposure to new customers. This program will particularly benefit BIPOC and women-owned businesses that have suffered disproportionate financial losses due to the pandemic, loss of foot traffic, changes in consumer behavior, shift to an economy dominated by e-commerce and barriers to affordable commercial space in Seattle neighborhoods.

“We provide a pathway for growth for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, and remove barriers to commercial real estate affordability, especially for small business owners and BIPOC artists. We are thrilled to bring this program citywide and continue to provide tangible solutions that activate storefronts across the city with fresh, innovative and local retail concepts and art installations. said Chera Amlag, Seattle Restored – OED program manager.

“It was an incredible experience to be able to show the work with Seattle Restored. Not only were we able to experience a new way of collaborating, but it was also very stimulating to be able to bring our vision to life in a large showcase in the heart of the city. We felt super supported by the community every step of the way and a powerful reminder that art and artists matter! said may Kytonen (member of the artist duo Lumi), creator of Anterior Periapt located at 2+U Urban Village.

Acting OED Director and Board Member Nelson Chief of Staff visits INSIDE, one of several Seattle Restored participating sites.

In addition to Seattle Restored, OED has invested $8 million in the Capital Access Program — a new partnership with local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that links small businesses to flexible working capital loans; $6 million in neighborhood revival grants; $4 million in stabilization grants for small businesses, launched Shop at the pace – a stimulus program that pairs local musicians with small retail businesses to deliver in-store performances during peak hours, help increase foot traffic and sales for retailers, and provide competitive pay for musicians who have lost significant income due to the impacts of COVID-19; and over $300,000 in digital access programs for small business owners and youth, including the Digital Sales Access Program and Youth Web Design Program.

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