April 2008

The ICBD Tenant Relocation Ordinance is now law!  A key policy item for PCIS, the Ordinance was spearheaded in City Council by Councilman Luis Aponte, and developed in collaboration with the City of Providence's Department of Planning.  Recognizing the importance of small businesses and the creative community to Providence's long-term economic growth, the Ordinance was signed into law by Mayor Cicilline at a press conference on April 10, 2008.

This ordinance - a call to developers of rehabilitation projects to recognize the hardship of tenant displacement and the negative impact on the local community and economy - will enact a policy within the ICBD where commercial tenants can receive a financial stipend and at least 90 days notice of termination regardless of the terms of a lease.

This ordinance recognizes the importance of the existing small business and creative community to Providence's long-term economic growth. It places value on the need to retain these jobs and businesses and offers some means of support for their disruption and involuntary loss of space. Finally, it prompts a building owner to consider the affect to this community and take action towards an honorable resolve.

While the historic preservation of many of these commercial buildings (fueled by the State Historic Tax Credit and other development incentives) has yielded a positive impact on Providence, the negative results of involuntary displacement has been felt by many small businesses and artists over the past 6 years. This ordinance is a first step towards stemming the loss of small neighborhood businesses to other cities that have been effective in relocating these jobs from Providence.


The Providence Journal, Relocation, Relocation, Relocation. March 13, 2008

Providence Business News, New Providence Ordinance Helps Displaced Tenants, April 10, 2008

Providence City News, Landmark Ordinance Designed to Assists Small Businesses & Artists Signed Into Law, April 10, 2008

The Providence Journal, Ordinance Protects Artists, Small Businesses. April 11, 2008

Providence Business News, Group’s Effort to Protect Mill Tenants Paying Off, April 21, 2008


The ICBD Tenant Relocation Ordinance 2008

The Tenant Relocation Ordinance is a long time PCIS policy agenda item.  It is modeled after similar ordinances in Seattle, WA with consideration of the SBER/ALCO Tenant Relocation Program implemented by PCIS in 2006 and 2007 as a successful pilot program. 

The ordinance makes a building owner consider the impact of rehabilitation efforts on existing commercial tenants.  The compliance of this ordinance is necessary for the building to be eligible for any city subsidy.

1.  Requires a 90 day notice to all tenants, regardless of current lease
2.  Pays a 'stipend' based to help businesses with relocation based on number of employees:
  1-2 employees:  $2500
  3-5 employees:  $5000
  6-9 employees:  $7500
  10 employees or more: $10,000

Employees must be full time (minimum of 30 hours a week) and employed by the business for at least one year.

Businesses must be renting at the time of eviction, or within 12 months prior to the sale of a building for redevelopment or the issuance of a building permit for redevelopment.  This is intended to prevent owners from evicting tenants before they move forward with redevelopment plans, and thus circumventing the intention of the ordinance.

While the compliance of a 90-day notice is mandatory, the payment of a relocation stipend to the tenants is voluntary.  If the building owner chooses not to do this, the building will be ineligible for any city subsidy, such as tax incremental financing, a tax stabilization or grant (whether Federal, state or municipal) that is administered by the city.