New $3.5M Loan Program Will Help Atlanta Small Businesses Buy Commercial Real Estate

The City of Atlanta has launched a new $3.5 million loan program that provides low-interest financing to help existing local business owners acquire commercial real estate.

Known as the Atlanta Business Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (CDPA), it is the latest initiative launched by the United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta as part of the Atlanta Business Open Fund.

Through the CDPA, small businesses in Atlanta are eligible to apply for a direct loan of up to 20% of the cost of commercial real estate up to $200,000 to purchase commercial real estate.

“Healthy, thriving local businesses are the bedrock of our communities,” Mayor Andrea Dickens said in a news release.

“Inflation and economic pressures caused by the pandemic have made displacement of many small businesses increasingly easy,” Dickens said. “The Atlanta Business Opening Fund is designed to help Atlanta businesses open their doors, expand and build resilience against unforeseen economic challenges.”

A $20 million gift from Wells Fargo made possible the Open Business Atlanta Fund, which specifically focuses on helping business owners of diverse races and ethnicities who have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic. The fund is designed to help owners of small businesses in Atlanta own more of their business assets — including property and equipment — and finance physical upgrades to their facilities.

Individuals applying for a CDPA loan must be existing small businesses with a City of Atlanta business license and an interest in purchasing commercial real estate in the city.

The program emphasizes property purchases in low-income census tracts, Federal Opportunity Zones, disadvantaged communities, or regional communities approved for the New Markets Tax Credit. Businesses must also demonstrate the growth potential of their industry, according to the press release.

Loans are for the purchase/acquisition of downtown Atlanta buildings and related renovations. After 10 years of continuous payments and meeting the clawback clause, businesses can apply to convert the loan into a grant.

Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, said the timing of the program and other business loan programs is critical because an estimated 25% of businesses will not reopen after a major disaster such as a global pandemic.

“What we’re doing, with the support of Wells Fargo, is providing small businesses with the resources to build long-term wealth through economic uncertainty,” she said in the release.

Milton J. Little, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, said the CDPA program’s focus on helping small business owners of diverse races and ethnicities “is critical to the equitable growth of our community and the economic success of Greater Atlanta.”

To learn more about and apply for the Atlanta Business Down Payment Assistance Loan Program, small business owners should visit Small businesses interested in the program can apply for assistance through Invest Atlanta by visiting

In June, the United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta successfully launched the first Atlanta business opening program, the Atlanta Recovery Loan Program (ARLP), which provides 3 percent interest loans to small businesses interested in acquiring tangible business assets. The Commercial Property Improvement Grant (CPIG), launched in August, provides small businesses with grants of up to $50,000 to improve the exterior and interior of their business.

United Way and Invest Atlanta are distributing the Atlanta Business Open Fund as a combination of grant and loan programs focused on Black-owned and other diverse-owned businesses. Learn more about the program here.

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