DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Inflation has taken a big hit on the housing market from buyers to renters.
Even small businesses looking to open up shop are having trouble finding an affordable spot.
"I've been in Delray since 1976 and it's gotten expensive," said Renard Hardy, a barber/stylist at Primos Grooming Studio. "Definitely keep an eye out for opportunity. Like I said earlier if it progresses we want to keep it moving forward."
As an independent business owner Hardy said skyrocketing rent cost is top of mind.
"There are spaces on Atlantic Avenue that are running for 100-200 dollars a square foot," said Angie Gray the vice-chair of the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. "So, the small business owner does not have the opportunity to find a place where they can start and grow their business."
That's why the Delray Beach CRA has a project in the works to bring affordable retail space to the Historic Northwest 5th Avenue.
"We can't tell private people what to do with their buildings. With this project we're able to own the property and set the rents and help the business owners a little bit more," said Renee Jadusingh, the executive director of CRA.
The vacant apartment building on 98 Northwest Fifth Avenue will be converted into 6 ground floor units for businesses, and the upstairs will be shared office space for work and meetings.
According to the CRA, the 98 Northwest Fifth Avenue Commercial Activation Project will provide interior and exterior renovations to an existing 7,903-square-foot two-story building that has been currently vacant for several years, bringing it up to all applicable codes, including ADA compliance.
"This property enables small business owners hopefully locally to come here and take advantage of this opportunity to work and live in their hometown," said Renee Jadusingh, the executive director of CRA.
The rent is expected to be below market value. As the CRA said in the last year, they've had about 100 inquiries for their funding assistance programs.
"With small businesses as a whole it is so hard to try to get off the ground and running and what they're doing with the business over there it's great," said Hardy.
Friday, March 25, the CRA is holding a groundbreaking ceremony for the site at 10 a.m.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The CRA hopes to begin taking applications from small business owners by the end of summer.
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