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Retail Vacancy Program

Downtown BID Partners with City of Boston to Help Small Business Owners Access Grant Program to Activate Vacant Retail Space.


Grants up to $200,000 available for businesses to expand into downtown

Jump to the Application 

The Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) and the City of Boston are working to identify creative ways to bring people back to commercial districts to revitalize our local economy. We are seeking to fill vacant storefronts and help small business owners secure new storefront space or expand to a space by subsidizing the costs associated with operating expenses.

Administered by the City of Boston, the S.P.A.C.E. (Supporting Pandemic Affected Community Enterprises) Grant Program will prioritize helping small businesses grow, with a priority for industries that were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide grants of $100,000-$200,000 for 50 small businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 that are looking to fill vacant commercial space in the City.

While the City of Boston is prioritizing broader categories of businesses that are eligible for the S.P.A.C.E. Grant Program, the Downtown Boston BID is specifically interested in attracting businesses that meet the following local needs and priorities: 

  • BIPOC-owned businesses
  • Destination retail and restaurants
  • Social impact businesses (ie. nonprofit-led and mission-driven restaurants and retailers)
  • Childcare businesses
  • Boston-based apparel stores
  • Locally-owned and operated coffee shops
  • Bookstores
  • Specialty grocery stores
  • Creative spaces (ie. galleries, studios, and theaters)

Please note: Liquor stores, cannabis establishments, office spaces, franchises, and lab spaces will not be considered by the City of Boston for the S.P.A.C.E. Grant Program.

Why Downtown Boston? - download the Downtown Boston Retail Leasing Info Sheet (Españolabout our neighborhood. 


Apply for the S.P.A.C.E. Grant Program

The application for SPACE Grants closed on Friday, November 10th. Applicants will hear back from the Department of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion regarding the status of their application by mid-February 2024.

Interested in Opening Downtown?

Downtown customers bring over $3.1 billion in annual buying power

Level Up Downtown is our program to continue the revitalization of our neighborhood by supporting Boston’s emerging entrepreneurs and creative practitioners, the program aims to reduce retail vacancies, promote long-term entrepreneurial ventures, and showcase unique pop-ups, with a special focus on elevating BIPOC-led businesses.

Here are just some of the ways our organization can offer assistance:

  • Providing letters of support
  • Offering customized guidance on available storefronts
  • Advocating on your behalf with local landlords
  • Lending our technical expertise with the S.P.A.C.E. Grant Program application
  • Expediting permits and approvals
  • Marketing your business once you open
  • Helping to resolve many common problems you may face while operating

Contact us today and a member of our team will reach out to discuss your specific needs and questions.

Vacant Storefronts in Downtown Boston

To learn more about the City’s program, which provides funds to directly support businesses with commercial rent, build-out and other ramp-up costs, please visit the City of Boston's dedicated website