Businesses along St. Mary’s applying for city’s construction recovery grants

SAN ANTONIO – The warm weather is inspiring people to visit N. St. Mary’s Street to enjoy some food and drinks.

It’s a great sign for businesses there, but unfortunately, it’s not enough to combat the losses from the ongoing construction.

Business owners we spoke to said they’re hopeful a grant through the city will keep them afloat until construction is done.

“It really, really happened in November. They shut everything down right over here,” chef-owner of Candlelight Pourhouse Tammy Russell said, talking about the road construction outside.

Getting to Candlelight Pourhouse through the construction along N. St. Mary’s St. is a test of patience.

It’s forced Russell to make some hard decisions.

“I had to short it down to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and even then for just brunch. And I seriously, it’s just, it’s been a blessing and a miracle that I’ve been able to make it this far by being that smart,” Russell said.

Across the street, Tycoon Flats co-owner Malcom Hartman Jr. is facing the same problems.

“People have been resilient and they’re trying to come. But it’s hard because they don’t know how to read all of the signs,” Hartman said.

Both Hartman and Russell applied for the City of San Antonio’s COVID-19 Construction Recovery Grants Program, which closed at the end of February.

The city will give away $3,740,000 and the money is coming from COVID relief funding and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

A business can get up to $35,000.

“I would be able to pay my employees. I would be able to catch up on my bills,” Russell said.

To qualify, businesses need to be within one of 15 construction areas. They need to have been established before January 1st, 2021, and show a $10,000 loss of revenue between 2021 and 2022.

“Well, we’ve met that threshold every week,” Hartman said.

Some businesses don’t qualify and have to recoup on their own.

“Those are federal monies that are tied to COVID grants. And because we were not open in 2020 or 2019, we don’t qualify for that either. We open in the last quarter of 2021,” Cynthia Gomez, owner of Oscar De La Tienda, said.

On the city’s website, it shows money could come as early as March 20th.

Hartman and Russell are just hoping to keep their heads above water until then.

“We look forward to being the spot when it happens and the strip coming back around,” Hartman said.

“People love Candlelight, and I’m hoping to still be here even after this is here…but hoping and praying,” Russell said.

KSAT 12 Reporter Leigh Waldman emailed a representative with the city, asking how many businesses applied for this grant on Friday but has not gotten a response back yet.

Grants will be awarded between $10,000 and $35,000. The amount will be determined based on a scoring methodology broken into four categories:

  • Reduction in Net Revenue from 2021 to 2022
  • % of SBA Size Standard
  • Equity Atlas Score
  • Construction Project Duration

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