Yanelly Molina, Paralegal, UMEZ; Alice M. McNeil, Gemini II; Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO, UMEZ; Helen Pearsall-Barksdale, Gemini II; and Valerie P. Dent, Assistant General Counsel, UMEZ.
gemini ii specialty boutique receives retail incentive loan
store provides personalized consultation & fittings for women of all ages
New York, N.Y. – Gemini II Specialty Boutique, a longtime Harlem women’s apparel business, received a $17,260 loan as part of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp.’s (UMEZ) 125th Street Pilot Retail Incentive Program.
Specializing in women’s lingerie, particularly for full-figured women, Gemini II is a partnership founded by Alice M. McNeil and Helen Pearsall-Barksdale in 1989.The loan is being used for costs associated with its relocation to 354 St. Nicholas Avenue.
The 125th Street Pilot Retail Incentive 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.
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.
“Gemini II is the archetype of the kind of local existing businesses which this initiative is intended to assist,” said Kenneth J. Knuckles, UMEZ’s President & CEO. “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.