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Economic Development

Business Districts

Business districts support safe and inviting public spaces which improve local opportunities for small businesses, employment, and the creation of strong communities. San Diego is home to a number of business districts across the city that contribute to thriving communities and neighborhood identities. The Economic Development Department supports business districts in several ways, including a variety of programs aimed at supporting small businesses as well as maintaining contracts with community-based nonprofit organizations that manage business districts.  Many of these business districts are also assessment districts meaning they were formed through a legal mechanism that allows for the assessment of either business or property owners for additional services and/or neighborhood events. For more information, click on the links below to learn about the three types of assessment districts within San Diego. 

  • Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are typically managed by a local business association that hosts events, leads beautification efforts, and promotes the district and its business community. Assessments are collected from businesses within the defined district. Assessment revenues are used for their benefit.
  • Maintenance Assessment Districts (MADs) and Property and Business Improvement Districts (PBIDs) are areas where property owners pay an assessment on their property tax bill to fund special maintenance benefits over and above what the City provides. MADs and PBIDs are typically managed by community-based nonprofit organizations that oversee a regular maintenance schedule including additional trash pick-up, graffiti abatement, litter removal, and more.

In addition, the Economic Development Department supports community-based nonprofits working to improve commercial corridors that may not have an assessment district. These organizations may be supported through the Microdistrict grant program funded by the Small Business Enhancement Program (SBEP).

Business districts are vital to the local economy and are community hubs that contribute to the cultural fabric of San Diego. The Economic Development Department values the relationships with the community partners that provide exceptional services to enhance business districts and small businesses.