Spaces as Places is the City of San Diego's program to allow outdoor dining and other community gathering spaces in the public right-of-way. As part of a pilot project started in 2023, the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department (EDD) will be providing grants up to $20,000 to eligible businesses following the Spaces as Places program guidelines for expanding business operations outdoors into the public right-of-way. EDD will be prioritizing businesses located in underserved communities for these grants. Grants may be awarded in phases, and can cover the costs of design, permitting and construction of projects.
The Outdoor Business Grant program supports businesses working to create outdoor dining spaces that contribute to the enjoyment of the public environment. It also seeks to prioritize projects in underserved communities.
This grant is being offered as a pilot program through the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, 2023. It is partially funded through SB 1186 fees, which are intended to be deployed to “increase disability access, encourage compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements, develop education resources for businesses, and facilitate compliance with Federal and State disability laws.” Additional grant funds are being provided through the Small Business Enhancement Program. The total amount available for use in this pilot program is $300,000.
This grant is for reimbursement of some or all expenses related to creating and installing a Sidewalk Cafe, Streetary, or Active Sidewalks project defined by the Spaces as Places program.
Eligible expenses include City of San Diego permit fees, cost of drawings required for the permit application, cost of labor, and cost of materials. All contractors and vendors must have proper California licensing and City Business Tax Certificates as required by law.
Funds must be spent exclusively at the application location. Funds cannot be used to purchase any insurances required by the Spaces as Places process.
To be eligible, the applicant must be a commercial occupant of the subject property. The business must meet the following requirements:
Applications are ineligible if any of the following characteristics are true about the business:
All applicants for the Outdoor Business Grant should expect to take the following steps to complete their projects:
Applicant businesses are eligible for reimbursement not to exceed $20,000, issued in phases as they are successfully completed, per the chart below. Businesses located within the San Diego Promise Zone boundaries, in low- and moderate-income areas, or owned by low- and moderate-income individuals are eligible for a larger grant amount (Category B) to help with the initial costs of permitting a Spaces As Places project.
|Permitting – includes permit application and inspection fees||$2,500||$5,000|
|Design – expenses paid to a design professional for research and drawings required to obtain required permits||$2,500||$5,000|
|Construction – costs include labor and materials provided by properly licensed contractors and vendors.||$10,000||$10,000|
This application is open through June 2023. The application is available through SeamlessDocs. To optimize SeamlessDocs functionality, applicants should use Mozilla Firefox, Chrome or Safari browsers.
Applicants will be asked to provide basic information about the property, business owner(s), proposed project elements, and project budget. Applications will require the upload of:
The program administrator will contact applicants within seven (7) business days of application submission.