Schumer: Hart's Local Grocers Needs SBA Loan to Move Forward With Plans to Open a Downtown Rochester Grocery - Urges SBA to Expeditiously Review $1.15 Million Loan so Hart's Can Stay on Schedule for Opening in May
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 -- The office of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., issued the following news release:
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to expeditiously review a $1.15 million loan for Hart's Local Grocers, which is planning on opening a grocery in downtown Rochester on Winthrop Street. Schumer explained that a prompt review and decision on the SBA loan is particularly important because it's required for Hart's to lock-in the remainder of the financing necessary to begin construction, and open the new grocery on schedule in May. Hart's Local Grocers has secured an approximately $3 million loan from Canandaigua National Bank to transform a 20,000 square foot former auto repair shop in downtown Rochester into the new grocery, but requires the commitment letter approving the accompanying SBA loan. Schumer explained that the proposed grocery would be a boon for local residents that would create jobs and turn an unused property into a business that generates economic activity.
"The Small Business Administration needs to quickly review this loan, and leverage additional private and local financing, so that Hart's Local Grocers can begin construction on schedule. This new grocer could bring a host of benefits to downtown Rochester, so there is no time to waste in securing the necessary financing to get the project moving," said Schumer. "Besides providing convenient access to a healthy grocery for downtown residents, Hart's Local Grocers will transform a critical property in the East End that may otherwise remain unused and turn it into an operational business - which encourages commercial development in the area, and generates economic activity and tax revenue for the City. The SBA needs to put this loan application on the fast-track so we can sooner see Hart's Local Grocers open up shop on Winthrop Street."
Hart's Local Grocers is planning on opening a store this May at the former Craig Autometrics building on Winthrop Street. Hart's Local Grocers has secured a roughly $3 million loan from Canandaigua National Bank. However, in order to receive the $3 million private loan needed to begin construction, they need confirmation of SBA approval of the loan.
While over 5,000 people live in Downtown Rochester, the area has not had a sizable grocery store since the 1990s. With more people moving to the neighborhood in recent years, the demand for a grocery store has grown. Schumer said that the new grocery store would provide a needed service for downtown residents while creating construction and direct jobs in the area.
A copy of Senator Schumer's letter to the SBA appears below:
Dear Acting Administrator Markowitz,
I am writing on behalf of a significant new commercial development in downtown Rochester, NY which is dependent on timely action by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Specifically I ask that the SBA expedite consideration of a $1,150,870 SBA 504 loan for a new downtown grocery market in Rochester, Hart's Local Grocers. I understand the application is currently pending with the SBA loan office in California and awaiting final processing.
Hart's, which will initially employ about 20 workers, is counting on being able to open for business in May, 2014. In order to keep to this timeline, the business has secured an approximately $3 million loan with Canandaigua National Bank to begin renovations to transform a 20,000 square foot former automobile repair shop in downtown Rochester into the new grocery store. However, in order to close on this $3 million loan as planned this week and keep to their timeline, there is a requirement that the SBA must first provide a commitment letter approving the accompanying SBA 504 loan.
Hart's will be the first sizable grocery store in Rochester's downtown in over two decades and thus the economic development benefits of this new venture extend far beyond the new construction and direct jobs that will be created at the store itself. For years local officials have cited the lack of a grocery store as a major impediment to attracting new housing, residents, and other business activity into Rochester's downtown core. Thus, the timely opening of this new grocer is a major linchpin in the City of Rochester's efforts to support continued vibrant mixed-used development in the heart of the city.
Therefore, I ask the SBA to provide timely consideration on this 504 loan application and provide the requisite commitment letter needed to enable this important development to begin construction and open on time this May.
Charles E. Schumer
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