Ridgites seek Third Avenue Business Improvement District

Making a bid: Maria Ingardia and Shelia Brody of the Green Spa and Wellness Center, flank Bryan Chin of Northfield Savings Bank and real estate attorney Bob Howe. The four are pushing a business Improvement district on Third Avenue in the Ridge.
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It is rocket fuel for the Ridge!

Bay Ridge’s Third Avenue will get cleaner, attract more shoppers, and increase revenue for store owners if a plan to create a Business Improvement District to promote the commercial strip is approved, locals say.

“The merchants on the avenue realize that to continue to be competitive they too have to reach out to have more of a borough wide and citywide presence,” said Ridgite Rob Howe, who also owns property on Third Avenue.

Howe began considering starting a Business Improving District, which pools money raised through special taxes on building and business owners within the district to pay for improvements including sidewalk cleaning, additional signage, and promotion, in January, figuring it would benefit owners of the grocery stores, banks, and retail shops from 67th Street to Marine Avenue.

So far, more than 50 stakeholders have signed on, according to Howe. Fifty-one percent of businesses in the proposed district have to endorse the plan before it can move forward.

A Board of Directors manages the partnership and decide on the tax, which used fund the services, according to the city Department of Small Business Services.

Critics of the “bids,” which they are commonly called charge that the services are already provided by the city, and the cost is yet another burden on their bottom lines, but Howe said the money goes back into the pockets of business owners.

“When you give the city a dollar towards your Business Improvement District, your dollar comes back to you,” he said.

For the bid to become a reality, it has to pass through an 11-step process that requires two public meetings and Council and mayoral approval.

The additional tax the district would collect to fund its operations has not yet been determined, since the plan is still in the exploration phase.

Councilman Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) are both aware of and support the effort, according to their reps.

A Third Avenue bid would be the third in Bay Ridge, which also has them on 86th Street and Fifth Avenue. Right now, there are 23 bids in Brooklyn.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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