Focused Investment Strategy - Commercial Business Assistance Program


dominicanaSalonThis program provides financial assistance to businesses and property owners in the designated FIS areas. The goal of the program is to promote investment, job creation and retention, and neighborhood revitalization in the Focused Investment Strategy (FIS) areas. The flexibility of this program allows the City to provide assistance for a variety of uses through grant assistance. Consideration for assistance under this program will be at the sole discretion of the City, and will be subject to a financial review of the project and applicant. There is a limited amount of funds available, and preference will be given to those eligible projects that would have the most significant impact on the revitalization of the targeted area.

Eligible Area

Projects must be located within the City of Rochester's designated Focused Investment Strategy areas to be eligible for this program.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Eligible Activities
    • Acquisition of property for development
    • Facade improvements and building renovation (interior and/or exterior)
    • Purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment
  • Ineligible Activities
    • Payoff existing debts
    • Refinancing of loans
    • Land banking
    • Conduct market surveys, environmental site assessments
  • Ineligible Businesses/Properties
    • Adult bookstores
    • Adult entertainment
    • Betting parlors
    • Gaming arcades
    • Residential projects with no commercial/retail component
    • Pawn shops
    • Properties or uses which are non-tax paying

Business Ownership and Operations

  • The applicant may be the building owner or tenant. If the applicant is the tenant the owner’s permission is required for all building modifications
  • The business must be a permitted or specially permitted use in the property’s zoning district. Properties, uses or individuals which are in violation of Federal, State, County or City codes, ordinances or laws are ineligible for the loan program
  • The applicant may be a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or individual
  • The applicant must be current on all taxes, PILOT agreements and City loans

Job/Wage Reporting

All recipients are required to report employment annually, the current number of employees and number of employees who are City residents, the number of jobs created or retained and the wage level of those jobs during the term of the grant.

Available Assistance

  • Matching Grants
    • Matching grants are available to qualified applicants, at the discretion of the Commissioner of NBD
    • The recipient may be a landlord or tenant in a property located within the eligible area
    • Maximum grant amount is $40,000
    • The grantee must provide a match of $1.00 per $1.00 received in grant funds
    • For building renovation/façade improvement projects, the grantee’s match will be required to pay for an architect to prepare the drawings, obtain City Zoning and Building approval, and bid the project. The City grant will be used to fund the building improvements
  • Financial Ability
    • Applicants will demonstrate adequate cash flow to service all existing and proposed new debt. Underwriting criteria which must be met to obtain program funding includes:
    • Evidence of available funds for the required match.
    • For existing businesses, historical results must show sufficient cash flow to repay all existing and proposed new debt with a debt service coverage ratio of at least 1.25:1.
    • For new businesses (in operation for less than two years) and when applicable for existing businesses, three-year projections will be required and must show sufficient cash flow to repay all existing and proposed new debt with a debt service coverage ratio of at least 1.25:1.
    • Management experience or appropriate education.
    • Personal Credit History - Always paid on time or reasonable explanation of the variances


  • The applicant discusses the project with the Business Development staff of the Bureau of Business & Housing Development (BHD)
  • The applicant submits items which are necessary to perform an appropriate credit analysis. BHD staff will then perform a complete underwriting/credit analysis.
  • All assistance must be approved by the Commissioner of NBD
  • A grant agreement will be issued by the City of Rochester Law Department
  • Following acceptance of the grant agreement and satisfaction of all Conditions Precedent listed in the commitment letter/grant agreement, the City=s attorney prepares the appropriate closing documents
  • A closing is scheduled and disbursement of the program funding follows the schedule outlined in the grant agreement

NOTE: The Commissioner of NBD reserves the right to modify the preceding Program guidelines on a case-by-case basis for high public benefit projects.

Additional Information

For more information on this program, please contact your Quadrant City of Rochester Business Development contact below:

Northeast:     Daisy Algarin
(585) 428-7711
Southeast: Matt McCarthy
(585) 428-6920
Southwest: Thad Schofield
(585) 428-7848
Northwest: Telana Nieves
(585) 428-6891