(KRON) — San Francisco has launched a new program to bring back life to the city’s downtown. Many storefronts have been sitting empty since businesses closed during the pandemic.

The city’s program aims to fill the vacancies with new pop-up businesses. Right now there are about 40 commercial vacancies in Downtown San Francisco.

The new program launched this week aims to fill those empty spots with small businesses making the downtown area the ‘it’ spot​ to hang out.

A new program called Vacant to Vibrant aims to change that. The program will allow small businesses to open a pop-up in vacant spaces downtown. It’s a part of Mayor London Breed’s downtown recovery plan.

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development paid for the $710,000 program.

The non-profit’s SF New Deal will run the effort. People who want to open a pop-up can pitch an idea and apply on this website.

The portal opened up on Monday, and 53 applicants have already applied. Some ideas include Singaporean food, a mocha cafe and a sake and wine bar. Selected pop-ups can get grants ranging from $3,000 to $8,000, and a team will take care of all logistics.

There are some incentives for property owners to participate as well. Some expenses may be covered in order to offer up the space as a part of the program.

The Chamber of Commerce President believes this could help downtown recover from the pandemic woes. There will be three phases with 10 to 15 pop-ups opening in each phase.
The first round will begin by the end of summer. All applications for that will be accepted until June 1.