Starting a BID

street in Chinatown with three staffers from Chinatown BID installing public seating

The community must initiate the creation of a BID. The effort can take a long time and involves the hard work of property owners, businesses, and other local stakeholders. A BID is one of many ways to improve a commercial district. We can help communities understand what exactly a BID can do and whether it is the best option for them.

Once a BID is identified as the best option for a community, a group of local stakeholders form a Steering Committee to lead the formation effort. The Steering Committee decides the key details of the BID plan: the boundaries, services to be provided, annual budget, and assessment formula.

We serve as an advisor and resource during the BID formation process, guiding these groups through the planning, outreach, and legislative phases of the BID formation process, and then through the start-up of the newly established BID.

The Comprehensive Guide to BID Formation and Expansion explains the multi-year process to form a new BID or expand an existing BID. The guide provides detailed instructions and advice for local stakeholders to progress through the planning, outreach, legislation, and start-up phases of BID formation. Forming a BID can take a long time and involves the hard work of property owners, businesses, and other local stakeholders.

After reviewing this guide, groups interested in creating a BID should contact us for more information before beginning the process.

Key Questions

Before beginning the BID formation process, groups should ask the following questions. Click a question, or press the enter key on a question, to reveal its answer.

Is there a clear need in the proposed district?

First ask – what are the needs in the area and can BID services or programs help meet those needs? Next, ensure the benefits of the BID outweigh the cost of funding it.

Are there enough commercial properties to fund a BID?

Commercial properties pay the bulk of the special assessment that funds the BID. Therefore, there must be enough commercial properties to sustain a BID.

Is there stability in the local economy and commercial occupancy rates?

BIDs are most successful in areas with vacancy rates less than 20%. Areas with high vacancy rates or unstable local economies may consider other economic development strategies. We can assist with identifying the best option for your area.

Is there a history of local partnerships and collaboration?

Relationships and trust between area stakeholders are essential for a successful BID formation process. An effective way to establish a history of collaboration and shared investment is to initiate a local organizing effort among merchants, property owners, and/or neighborhood stakeholders. A merchants association is one example.

Is there strong local support from elected officials for a BID?

A BID cannot be created without the support of local elected officials, the community board, and other community leaders. It is important you meet with them early to ensure they understand what BIDs do and how they can best meet the needs in your district.

Interested in starting a BID? Learn more about the phases of BID development and submit a BID information inquiry form.