Friday, May 9, 2014

Attention, Entrepreneurs! FLATS & Chicago Collaborate On Small Business Incubator In Uptown

On Wednesday, the City of Chicago announced a new program called "Up the Block," in which private developers and the City will partner to put small businesses into vacant storefronts and give them a jumpstart to success.

The inaugural community chosen is Uptown, in partnership with FLATS Chicago and Cedar Street, FLATS' parent company.

Storefronts will be provided for up to four small businesses at the Norman Hotel (1325 West Wilson) and Lawrence House (1020 West Lawrence).  Businesses are projected to occupy the storefronts by autumn.

According to the press release, "By matching developers with local small businesses, the Up the Block program will spur economic development in the Uptown and Edgewater communities while putting vacant spaces to better use. Through the partnership, small business owners will receive an initial reduction in rent as well as technical support to get started while the property developer or landlord gets a new long-term tenant to fill vacant space. The neighborhoods will benefit from new commercial options and fewer vacancies, improving the overall look and feel of the neighborhood."

You can read more about the benefits for selected small businesses at They include free rent for a year with the signing of a five-year lease; business plan assistance from MBA students at Kellogg; assistance finding and applying for funding; minimal red tape while going through the permits and applications process; a kick-off party; mentorship by existing successful businesses; paid legal fees; up to $50K in tenant improvement funds; and marketing assistance, including social media and a website.  It's valued at more than $100,000.

Now that you're interested, passionate entrepreneurs, start filling out your application at the FLATS Project website.  Pour your heart and soul into the application the same way you have into your business.  The deadline is June 30th.

You can read more about it at the City's website, at the FLATS Project website, and in the Sun-Times.


  1. Great news! Now we just need density and more market rate condos so all those people with disposable incomes make this place twice as cool as Lakeview and Andersonville!

  2. Thanks for trolling UN. Things quiet today at work? Perhaps you could better utilize your time looking through catalogs of plastic geese lawn figures. One or two plastic geese would enhance the outdoor allure of that bland townhouse you live in on that industrial looking stretch of non Uptown you're wife forced you to live in.

    Does Menards sell such lawn figures? Seems like an easy walk for you. Better bring the wife. I'm sure she makes all the important decisions like that.


    I'd like to apologize to the normal readers here who don't quite understand what's going on here. Let's just say "What the Cappletroll" and let it be. Which reminds me I need to listen to some "Beatles" tunes. "Whispering words of wisdom..."

  3. What I was trying to say, people are moving back into the city from the suburbs and Uptown should capitalize on that trend and businesses are guaranteed to bloom. Once there's demand, businesses will pop up everywhere. Of course, this program is awesome, now just need more condos thrown into the mix.

  4. UN,

    you forgot to use "exclamation points".


  5. Maybe the small independent business owners from Andersonville who are currently being pushed out by high profile chains can take advantage of this.