Downtown Business Loan Programs

Wilmington Downtown administers business loan programs that provide capital for rehabilitation of commercial buildings in Wilmington's Central Business District and operating capital for qualifying downtown businesses.

We offer 2 types of loans:  Rehabilitation Loans | Operating Loans

(Click Here to download our loan documents.)

Rehabilitation Loan Program

Terms & Conditions | Financing Programs | Requirements | Application

Terms and Conditions

Wilmington Downtown Inc. is a non-profit corporation established to facilitate the revitalization of the Central Business district of Wilmington, North Carolina. From 1977 through January 2004, it was known as DARE, Inc.

It is the outgrowth of a Task Force appointed by the Mayor in March, 1976. Wilmington Downtown receives both public and private financial support for its administration and programs. It is governed by a 36 member Board of Directors who represent the City, County and Downtown as well as at-large members of the community.

Wilmington Downtown's goal is to insure that the physical and economic change in Downtown Wilmington develops in a positive way by serving as a liaison between the public, business and government sectors, and by promoting and developing downtown as a good place to shop, work, live and enjoy. Wilmington Downtown works to identify problems and opportunities downtown and advocates change.

Wilmington Downtown's program, developed after analyzing revitalization strategies of other cities and refining them to the local situation, contains all the elements for a successful effort. The program's success depends on the leadership, commitment and coordination of both the public and private sectors.

Rehabilitation Financing Programs

The areas eligible for the loan programs are the Central Business District, which includes North Fourth Street, and Castle Street from the Cape Fear River to 17th Street. The objectives of the plan are:

  1. Offer construction and permanent financing at less than market interest rates to make it more financially feasible for owners or developers to renovate buildings.
  2. Provide technical assistance to owners of buildings in determining repairs necessary for the building to meet NC Building Code standards and general property improvements necessary for the building to accommodate its intended use.
  3. Cooperate with Wilmington Downtown and other business interests in designing plans and loan programs for the improvement of building and provision of business development in designated commercial areas.
  4. The objectives of the plan are to be achieved by implementation of the following program:

Program: Building Improvement Loan Fund
Description: To encourage the development of commercial and residential uses in the Central Business District, which includes North Fourth Street, and in the Castle Street corridor as well, Wilmington Downtown offers loans at fixed interest rates of ¾ prime amortized over 20-30 years. Each loan has a five, seven, or ten year call. The lower interest rates and longer terms will reduce the owner's monthly debt service and will enable an owner to offer the units for monthly rents affordable to more people. The development of commercial and residential uses in the Downtown Redevelopment Area will provide for utilization of upper floors of buildings and contribute to the redevelopment of offices and retail shops on the ground floors and should be encouraged. This program provides low-interest fixed loans at ¾ the prime rate amortized for a term of up to twenty (20) years with a balloon payment in five (5) to ten (10) years. The loan proceeds are to be used for general building renovations. This loan program is administered by Wilmington Downtown, Inc.
Maximum Loan: (2005 program) $50,000.00 or 20% of purchase and renovation cost (whichever is lower)
Maximum Loan: (2006 program) $75,000.00
Interest Rate: ¾ prime at date of commitment

Program: Retail/Small Commmercial Loan
Maximum Loan: $10,000.00
Interest Rate: ¾ prime at date of commitment
Description: Wilmington Downtown, Inc. also offers a retail/small commercial loan program. This program is for leasehold improvements only. Building owners and lessees will not qualify unless they are up-fitting the building for their own small business use. The loan program shall provide up to 100% of up-fit costs for projects not exceeding $10,000.

Application Requirements

We require the following for a Wilmington Downtown rehabilitation loan application:

  1. Loan application form.
  2. Cost of purchase of building or value.
  3. Cost of renovation.
  4. Copy of renovation plans.
  5. Cost bids for renovation work.
  6. Personal financial statement.
  7. Proof of Ownership/Control.

If the loan is approved, we will require a promissory note, a deed of trust and/or a security agreement, along with our standard loan agreement, as well as title insurance policy naming Wilmington Downtown, Inc. as Mortgagee and a fire and casualty insurance policy with Wilmington Downtown as loss payee.

Our policy under this program is to make rehabilitation loans only.

Operating Loan Program Terms & Conditions | Financing Program | Requirements | Application
Terms & Conditions

Terms to be determined by our loan committee.

Operating Financing Program Loans for inventory, furniture, fixtures (including signage) and equipment are eligible for this program. Salaries, rent and building related expenses (phone bills, electricity, etc.) are not included in this program.

Program: Operating Loan Fund
Maximum Loan: $5,000.00
   Loans for inventories are eligible for $2,000.00 maximum.
   Loans for furniture, fixtures and equipment can be made up to $5,000.00.
   No more than $50,000.00 will be loaned under the operating loan fund.
Interest Rate: ¾ prime at date of commitment
Description: All loans are made as a reimbursement. Applicant must provide invoices and/or other evidence of pre-purchase in order to receive the funds.
   
All loans for operating expenses will require business plan approval from the Wilmington Downtown Loan Committee in addition to a completed application. Wilmington Downtown recommends that the business plan be developed in partnership with the Small Business and Technology Development Center at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and/or the Small Business Center of Cape Fear Community College. Application requirements and qualifications for the program shall be consistent with the existing Rehabilitation Loan Program. (See details above.) This loan program is administered by Wilmington Downtown, Inc.

Application Requirements
We require the following for a Wilmington Downtown operating loan application:

  1. Loan application form.
  2. Business plan.
  3. Receipts for purchase of inventory, furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  4. Copy of lease (if applicable.)
  5. Personal financial statement.
  6. Proof of Ownership/Control.    

If you have any additional questions, please give us a call.

If the loan is approved, we will require a promissory note, a deed of trust and/or a security agreement, along with our standard loan agreement, as well as title insurance policy naming Wilmington Downtown, Inc. as Mortgagee and a fire and casualty insurance policy with Wilmington Downtown as loss payee.

Our policy under this program is to make loans only for operating capital, such as fixtures, furnishings and inventory, not for continuing operating expenses. The loan is not to exceed $5,000.00 for fixtures, furniture and and equipment or $2,000.00 for inventory. The interest rate is ¾ of prime (at the commitment date).