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Start, Grow, or Green Your Business Stephen H. Johnson, Director
Business Owners Business Districts Key Industries News and Resources
Letter from the Mayor
How to Use This Guide
Abbreviations Used in This Guide
Hints for Successful Business District Improvements
Beautification Projects
Flower Planters
Holiday Lighting
Metro Bus Shelters
Public Art
Street Trees
Clean and Green Seattle Initiative
Enhancement Projects
Street Furniture
Pedestrian Lighting
Bicycle Racks
Newspaper Boxes
Office of Economic Development
Neighborhood Matching Fund
Forming a Business Improvement Area
Grant Programs
Services to Businesses
Litter Cans
Sidewalk Cleaning
Spring Clean
Street Cleaning
Street Paving
Building/Fire Code Violations
Managing Parking
Public Safety
Street Light & Power Line Repair
Alley & Security Lighting
Crime Prevention
Emergency Preparedness
District Identification Signs
Traffic Controls
Use of Public Areas
City Parks
Sidewalk Cafes
Street Vendors
Additional Information
Neighborhood Business District Support
Business Dists., Merchants Assns., Chambers of Commerce
Community Development Corporations

Create a Thriving Business District


The Office of Economic Development (OED) offers Seattle 's more than 30 unique neighborhood business district organizations resources and support to help promote the City's diverse commercial centers. The City also works with numerous local Chambers of Commerce to promote a healthy business environment.

A number of these districts have formed official Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) staffed either by paid workers or entirely by volunteers. See the Funding section of this guide for more information on BIAs.

OED also supports the implementation of neighborhood plans, particularly when the plans affect neighborhood business districts. For more information on the neighborhood plans or to view the plan for your neighborhood, visit:

OED partners with Community Capital Development (CCD), which provides loans and services for small businesses at every level from start-up, to rapid expansion, to controlled growth, to sustained profitability. On-site counselors provide consultation to small businesses. Visit the CCD website at:

OED also partners with the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) on an array of public and private sector initiatives, including the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), a BIA for the downtown. Visit the DSA website at:

We have seven thriving Neighborhood Farmers Markets: in Columbia City, the University District, West Seattle, Lake City, Broadway, Phinney Ridge and Magnolia. An active Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance supports mostly for-profit farmers from throughout Washington State in bringing the best of their harvest into the heart of Seattle 's neighborhoods. These lively markets bring foot traffic to the area and stimulate economic activity in nearby businesses. The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance website is:

Community Development Corporations

The Office of Economic Development works closely with a number of local Community Development Corporations to create affordable housing and new commercial space in Seattle 's distressed communities. See page 72 for a list of Community Development Corporations in Seattle.

Impact Capital is a non-profit corporation that receives public and private funds to provide financial support, technical training and other resources to local community development corporations. OED provides direct financial support to Community Development Corporations through Community Development Block Grants. The corporations work to support strong, vital neighborhoods through a variety of projects, with major accomplishments to their credit. Impact Capital can be found online at:

Community Development Loans

OED's Community Development Loan Program provides low-rate loans for large projects that meet the federal block grant program's national objectives and funding guidelines. Loans may be available for construction bridge financing, low-income housing development projects and site acquisition. In addition, businesses may qualify for loans through Section 108 Loans and Float Loans. For more information, contact Ken Takahashi, Real Estate Finance Manager, at 206-684-8378or email

Community Development Fund

The Office of Economic Development partnered with Sound Transit and the people who live and work in the Rainier Valley to establish the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund. The Fund is a community controlled financial institution that will preserve and strengthen cultural diversity, long-term livability and economic opportunity for Rainier Valley residents, businesses and institutions. Funds are available for businesses impacted by light rail development along the light rail alignment. For more information, visit: or email:

Workforce Development

Keeping people working in living wage jobs is a major priority of Seattle government. The Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI), a non-profit agency, links community-based organizations, community colleges and employers in a public/private partnership to recruit, train, place and retain low-income residents in living wage jobs. SJI also works with local employers to ensure that training programs are relevant to on-the-job requirements. Visit SJI online at:

Major Industry Sector Development

The Office of Economic Development supports initiatives that build on Seattle 's assets while aggressively pursuing new opportunities to generate jobs and create economic security for the people of our city. To achieve these goals, the Office of Economic Development works collaboratively with Seattle 's existing industry sectors to sustain a balanced and diverse economic base, as well as increase our momentum as a world leader in advanced technology industries. We actively promote the start-up, retention, expansion and location of large and small businesses in Seattle. Partnering with business associations and individual companies, we identify and advocate for City policies and infrastructure investments that support a thriving business climate.

OED Contacts