The Business Community Ownership Fund (BCO Fund) is a new investment model that addresses the rising cost of commercial rent in Seattle, WA. The BCO Fund is a collaboration between the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) and Grow America. The fund helps business owners secure fixed, affordable rents through a model of shared ownership of the commercial space. The affordable and stable rent provides financial stability and allows the business to stay in their community. The shared ownership model provides a community of support for business owners, which can help them grow their businesses.
Benefits of the BCO Fund include:
• Shared ownership of commercial real estate
• Stable, affordable occupancy costs
• A community of support with other business owners
• Access to tools and resources to support their growth
How it works
1. The BCO Fund invests in commercial real estate in Seattle neighborhoods, which will house storefronts for business owners at the highest risk of displacement.
2. The Fund creates a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to invest in each project. Multiple business owners can become members of the LLC, which purchases the commercial property those businesses will occupy. OED provides a subsidy for the project and additional financing is secured by Grow America as a managing member.
3. Tax benefits and cash flow benefit the business owners.
The BCO Fund helps BIPOC-owned businesses in Seattle by providing affordable commercial real estate and support. It aims to keep current businesses in their neighborhoods, help displaced businesses return, and build business owners’ financial security.
The fund is still in its pilot phase and is looking for projects that meet key community and business objectives. These objectives include integrating ground floor commercial into the neighborhood, providing culturally relevant goods and services, and supporting business sustainability and growth for women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other business owners of color.
Projects will be prioritized for consideration based on the investment criteria and the project’s stated community benefit.
The BCO Fund is looking for potential real estate project sponsors and interested small business owners. If you’re an interested real estate project sponsor, you can tell us more about your project here. If you’re a small business owner, please complete the Business Interest Form on OED’s site.
For more information about the BCO Fund and to express your interest, visit the Seattle Office of Economic Development’s page about the Fund.