Downtown Ithaca Alliances offers free rent for one year in new ‘Race for the Space’ Competition

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) is launching a very novel business development project geared toward existing or aspiring retailers or entrepreneurs that would like to set up shop in downtown Ithaca. The Race for the Space competition will award one or more successful applicants with an incredible opportunity to get their business up and off the ground including free rent in a downtown retail space for one year. In addition, winners will receive a one year advertising package with the Ithaca Times, design services for storefront layout and signage by John Snyder Architects, graphic design services from the DIA, business planning and marketing assistance, and quarterly monitoring visits by a team of business operations experts. This package is worth in excess of $40,000. Aside from the grand prize package, all applicants may be eligible for valuable business incentives that will help them successfully launch their downtown business.

Several downtown Ithaca landlords have made commitments to the Downtown Ithaca Alliance for storefront spaces for this competition. Because Ithaca remains a dynamic and fluid market, the exact space(s) may not be finalized until the end of the competition. That said, as of this time, it is known that one or two spaces will be made available for the winner(s) to occupy by June 2012 and at least one of these spaces will be located on the Ithaca Commons pedestrian mall. The spaces will be approximately 1,500 square feet and have high visibility.

According to DIA Executive Director, Gary Ferguson, the DIA “sought landlords who were both willing and able to make a vacant storefront available for a year to be part of this exciting project. “We will work closely with the finalists to ensure that their proposal and the available spaces are the best possible matches,” said Ferguson.

Interested parties may submit their proposals for a viable, compatible retail or commercial business that will benefit from being located in downtown Ithaca. A pre-application can be downloaded at www.downtownithaca.com and must be submitted to the DIA by March 15, 2012. The DIA’s Business Retention and Development Committee will select the finalists who will then be asked to prepare and submit formal business plans by April 25. Race for the Space winners will be selected May 1 and will be expected to be able to launch their new businesses in Summer 2012.

For complete rules and regulations, visit www.downtownithaca.com.