Harlem Masters Hair Salon Receives Retail Incentive Loan

 New York, N.Y.Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) announced that Harlem Masters, a hair care and beauty establishment, which has served the Harlem community for over 18 years, has received a $43,393.00 loan as part of UMEZ’s 125th Street Pilot Retail Incentive Program.

 Harlem Masters, owned by Timothy Greene, moved from Fifth Avenue to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, and the loan is being used for costs associated with its relocation.

      The program was created to assist businesses seeking to expand or relocate to portions of 125th Street or certain Avenues perpendicular to portions of 125th Street.  The program also assists businesses that are seeking to take advantage of the re-zoning of the 125th Street Commercial Corridor. It was announced in August 2008.

 The incentives under this pilot program are offered on a “first come and as funds permit basis” to any eligible small businesses seeking to participate in the program.  All incentives will be structured as loans, with incremental forgiveness over a two year period, providing all program requirements are met by the participating business.  AREA Property Partners is supplementing the program by providing matching grants in amounts up to $50,000.

 “A great deal of effort and financial commitment has been made to ensure that assistance will be available to our existing local businesses,” said Mr. Knuckles. “Our overall goal is to help ensure that these businesses not only remain open, but also prosper as we move forward in the coming years.”

 This initiative, also known as the “Forgiveable Loan” program, complements the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Harlem Business Assistance Fund, a grant program also intended to offset some expenses small businesses may incur in relocating to 125th Street and its vicinity. The HBAF is financed by New York City Industrial Development Agency and is being administered by UMEZ on behalf of the City. The $1 million program reimburses businesses for broker commissions paid in connection with new leases.

        For more information about the 125th Street Pilot Retail Incentive Program and the Harlem Business Assistance Fund visit UMEZ’s website at www.umez.org.

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