Open for Business Initiative
Local Entrepreneurs

As many small businesses have been impacted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, these local entrepreneurs found it difficult, if not impossible, to pay operating expenses such as payroll, insurance, utilities, loan interest, inventory and, of course, their rent while they were temporarily closed. Upon reopening, many small businesses continue to face unprecedented challenges.

At Washington Prime Group, we regard our tenants as partners. Accordingly, during the second quarter of 2020, the Company entered into constructive negotiations with its small business partners, with a goal of strengthening longstanding relationships. Open for Small Business has been at the forefront of ensuring the survival and subsequent prospering of local entrepreneurs.

This national crisis serves as the catalyst by which we can further our town centers’ standing as a community resource. Our Local Management teams, along with many of our tenants, have worked diligently during the pandemic and continue to serve as a community partner, as exhibited by our hosting of nearly 1,000 community service projects nationwide since March 2020.

These civic measures have not only provided immediate assistance to those in need, they have further solidified Washington Prime Group town centers as an integral member of the locales which they serve.

Let’s keep it simple. Our Open for Small Business Initiative partner and 2017 Economic Sciences Nobel Laureate, Richard Thaler along with his colleague Jeff Severts just published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal entitled Lower the Rent During the Coronavirus Pandemic. They stated, ‘many aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic are incredibly complex. Lease renegotiation doesn’t need to be one of them’ and we couldn’t agree more.

So in order to streamline the process, we have provided an easy to use lease modification template which allows for the deferral and/or abatement of rent payments until you get back on your feet.

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Lease Modification

The standard lease modification template is summarized as follows:

  • Rental payments will be deferred substantially or entirely during the Relief Period predicated upon whether a qualifying small business remains open or closed.
  • If physical premises of a small business establishment remains open, the rental payment shall be 10% of the most recent monthly rental payment.
  • If closed, the rental payment shall be 100% deferred.
  • Upon conclusion of the Relief Period, rental payment shall be reinstated based upon the most recent lease terms and conditions prior to the Relief Period.
  • Beginning six months after the end of the Relief Period, the amount calculated as Total Deferral Amount will be amortized during the next 6-month period.
  • Relief Period is defined as the following: (i) The reopening of said establishment pursuant to approval of applicable governmental authority; and (ii) A 30-day grace period commencing from date of opening.

Disclaimer: The documentation presented is not an offer or promise to modify a Lease with Washington Prime Group (“WPG”). The documentation should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion by WPG (or any of its affiliates). Individuals should reach out to independent counsel for legal advice with regard to any lease modification or loan.

The Open for Small Business Initiative is also hosting educational programs via webcast seminars. We’ll have agency officials and other experts on hand to address everything you need to know about how to access Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loans as well as other public and nonprofit programs. We’ll also be holding tutorials focusing upon leadership, accounting, recruiting, social media, advertising and marketing led by industry professionals in order to address the necessary catalysts required to jumpstart your small business when it’s time to open back up.

Upcoming webcast from our partners

Program Participants

University of Chicago Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship

Beth Kregor Advocate for entrepreneurs and trusted legal advisor, is the director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship

Richard B. Thaler, Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished service professor of behavioral science and economics and recipient of the 2017 nobel memorial prize in economic sciences;

Steven B. Levitt, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor and coauthor of the New York Times best seller Freakonomics;


Additional Resources
Us Small Business Administration:

SBA PPP Loan Update

The Small Business Administration is currently offering PPP loans until May 31, 2021 . President Biden announced program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable. The SBA and the Department of Treasury have released additional PPP updates, FAQs and an Interim Final Rule which are available below:

Us Department Of The Treasury:

Treasury Guidance on Payroll Tax Deferral

To give people a needed temporary financial boost, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act allowed employers to defer payment of the employer's share of Social Security tax. IRS Notice 2020-65 PDF allowed employers to defer withholding and payment of the employee's Social Security taxes on certain wages paid in calendar year 2020. Employers must pay back these deferred taxes by their applicable dates.

Repayment of the employee's portion of the deferral started January 1, 2021 and will continue through December 31, 2021. For more information regarding what employers needs to know about repayment of deferred payroll taxes, including how to make deferral payments, click here . (Updated 3/10/21)

Other Helpful Resources:
  • The CDC has issued guidance for attending gatherings to celebrate events and holidays.
  • Our legal counsel, Blank Rome LLP has developed and launched the Blank Rome COVID-19 State Impact Tracker , a state-by-state assessment tool that provides timely information on shutdown orders, employment checklists, and individual and corporate tax information. This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.
  • The National Restaurant Association has released COVID-19 Reopening Guidance: A Guide for the Restaurant Industry
  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released a helpful checklist for retailers to use as they navigate opening stores after this international health crisis: Operation Open Doors Checklist .
  • The NRF has provided a state-by-state map which outlines coronavirus-related laws, executive orders, regulations and guidance governing store reopening for retailers: Coronavirus Retail Restrictions by State