Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pop-up shop near Atlanta Streetcar stop?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM

When the Atlanta Streetcar begins service between Centennial Olympic Park and the King Center this spring, civic officials want temporary "pop-up" galleries and businesses to enliven currently vacant storefronts along its route.

Central Atlanta Progress is accepting applications for $500 grants to set up pop-up businesses in rent-free vacant spaces from April 1 through July 31. And the business group is wide open to ideas - well, aside from selling booze or "adult entertainment" - and locations.

"The whole intent of this is really to activate [the area] in any way, shape or form," said Kristi Rooks, CAP's senior project manager of economic development, who is overseeing the Pop Up Retail Event program. That could mean anything from galleries to Georgia State class projects to restaurants.

"The best news we could have is we have so many applicants we can start spreading it out further [from the streetcar corridor]," Rooks said. "If we had to expand the boundaries, we would be happy to do it."

Pop-ups are a popular trend, a win-win scenario where landlords of vacant buildings temporarily offer rent-free or subsidized storefronts to microbusinesses that otherwise couldn't afford the space. CAP has never done a pop-up program of its own, but looked to successful events in Midtown and elsewhere as inspiration.

The pop-ups will cross-promote with the streetcar. CAP will operate some pop-up promotional events, too, possibly including a race.

"We'd love to bring food trucks and do events around their followers," Rooks said.

There is no list of specific pop-up locations right now because vacancies come and go weekly. But CAP will connect pop-up applicants and landlords.

CAP is not limiting the number of grants it will offer at this point, hoping to attract as many pop-ups as possible. The application process just opened on Monday, and CAP already received a few formal requests as well as many interested callers, Rooks said.

"I think we're going to have some names people will know and recognize," she said.

Applicants must have insurance and a business license, and they'll have to pay utility costs. They also must agree to operate the business at least three weekdays and every Saturday, and offer some evening hours.

The pop-up application deadline is Feb. 28. To apply or get more info, head here.

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