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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
New Empowerment Zone Loan Program
Info About New Loan Program
BELP Program Description [PDF]
BELP Loan Application [PDF]
April 15, 2009 - Partnership for Neighborhood Improvement (PNI) and the City of Knoxville’s Community Development Department are pleased to announce a new Empowerment Zone (EZ) revolving loan program, the Business Expansion Loan Program (BELP), for business expansion and commercial building improvements for businesses located within the EZ and area businesses willing to relocate into or expand in the EZ. Loans will be made for the purpose of providing gap financing to make projects feasible. The initial allocation to establish a business expansion loan fund will be $314,412. More funds may be made available by the PNI Board.

Knoxville’s Empowerment Zone was established several years ago by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The 16-square-mile Empowerment Zone includes downtown Knoxville and radiates out of it to encompass the Mechanicsville, Lonsdale, Five Points, Morningside, Fourth & Gill, Fort Sanders, Old Sevier and Vestal neighborhoods, among others.

Currently Community Development is seeking proposals from eligible applicants for this financing, which will be awarded in the form of a five percent (5%) interest rate loan for a term up to ten years. The loan term and loan amount will be determined by the loan review committee based on the applicant’s credit history, loan security, impact of the project on the community and other factors outlined in the program description.

The program’s funds may be used for building improvements and other costs directly related to business expansion and sustainability on specific properties within the city’s EZ boundaries.

Eligible costs include:

  • Site acquisition and development
  • Utility connections
  • Relocation expenses for businesses relocating into the EZ
  • Soft costs including financing part of the owner’s portion of a Façade Improvement Project
  • Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E)
  • Permanent site improvements including energy efficiency upgrades
  • Operating equipment and business inventory may be eligible if appropriate collateral is provided to secure the EZ loan.

    A copy of the loan application form and other information about the EZ Business Expansion Loan Program can be obtained at the Community Development office on the fifth (5th) floor of the City County Building. The information is also available at www.cityofknoxville.org/development or by contacting the Community Development Department at 865-215-2120.

    The first round of applications are due May 15, 2009. Future rounds may be announced if funding is available.
  • For Immediate Release
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