Blog Commercial Is a business improvement district coming to the Fishtown area?

Fishtown’s thriving commercial corridors may become the newest Business Improvement District (BID) in Philadelphia.

A BID is a way for property and business owners to work together to improve a commercial area. Funded by a special assessment paid by property owners on the business corridor, BIDs offer services—litter removal, security cameras, lighting, marketing, signage, street furniture, or visitor assistance—beyond the scope of what the City of Philadelphia can provide. There are currently 14 BIDs in the city, including the nearby Aramingo Shopping District, Mayfair BID, and Port Richmond Industrial Development Enterprise.

In July 2018, Fishtown Co. business association, Fishtown Neighbors Association, and NKCDC hosted an Introduction to Business Improvement Districts meeting at The Fillmore. The meeting was attended by more than 70 people, and the active discussion resulted in the creation of a BID Steering Committee.

After evaluating possible BID service areas, the committee issued a survey to find out what services the community needed most. More than 500 people completed the survey, which informed the current plan. The Fishtown Kensington Area BID Plan includes proposed services, boundaries, annual budget, and draft by-laws.

The Committee decided that the Fishtown Kensington Area BID would use a rate of .18% of Full Market Value to determine each eligible property owner’s contribution. Owner-occupied single-family homes and condominiums will not pay an assessment under the current plan.

The Steering Committee presented the draft plan to the community at two public meetings this past spring. A final community meeting will be held Tuesday, September 24 at 6:30 PM at Lutheran Settlement House (1340 Frankford Avenue). Then, on Friday, October 16, City Council will hold a public hearing. Thirty days before the hearing, all affected property owners and tenants will receive a packet in the mail with the final BID plan and bylaws. If two-thirds of eligible properties vote for the BID (either by property value or number), the BID proposal will succeed.

If the proposal is successful, the BID will begin services on January 1, 2020 for a five-year term.

For more information about the proposal for a Fishtown Kensington Area BID, visit, or contact NKCDC’s Economic Development Director, Kae Anderson: 215-427-0350 x136;