The letter included here is signed by more than two dozen small businesses and will be forwarded to all councilmembers and presented today at meeting with Councilmember CM Rob Johnson.
The letter identifies a range of steps that must be taken to preserve the U District’s unique youth driven, multi-cultural and affordable character (and before the city proceeds with the upzone). Strategies include seconding Capitol Hill’s call for rent control for small businesses, a right of first notice and funds so the city/nonprofits have an opportunity to purchase buildings on behalf of affected small businesses, lease assistance to help cover upzone-induced rent increases, and relocation funding covered by property owner in the event small businesses are displaced.
Small businesses signing the letter include: Hardwick’s Hardware (84 years in the District), Gargoyles Statuary (24 years in District), Tru Value Hardware (69 years in District), Scarecrow Video (23 years in District), UDistrict Seafood and Poultry (72 years in District) Bulldog News (36 years in District), Friendly Foam (42 years in District), the Grand Illusion (48 years in the District and first and longest running independend theater in city), and over a dozen others including minority owned and first generation immigrant shops.
The letter also will be forwarded to other Councilmembers, the Mayor and city planners. At their meeting with CM Johnson, after representatives of the small businesses community present their letter to him they will specifically ask him to commit to implementing strategies included in the letter. Next week they meet CM Herbold, also on the Land Use Committee and already expressing support for their cause. Meetings with others including CM Sawant also are being sought.