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Densest areas of New York City provide snapshot into PPP mega loans

The island of Manhattan seen from the air.

(The Center Square) – A venerable clothier, a nearly decade old restaurant chain and a nonprofit synonymous with girls and annual cookie sales were among some of the largest benefactors within New York City of the U.S. Treasury’s Paycheck Protection Program, an analysis reveals.

Auditors with Open the Books, a nonprofit organization focused on government transparency, recently delved into the so-called PPP mega loans – disbursements ranging from $1 million to $10 million – and compiled their findings into a searchable mapping tool.

The compilation came on the heels of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s reveal of which entities received forgivable PPP loans at the height of COVID-19 closures.

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of Open the Books, said more than 83,000 loans between the $1 million and $10 million threshold were administered to businesses in more than 13,700 ZIP codes across the country.

“Not surprisingly, many firms and nonprofit organizations who signed up for a PPP loan will argue that the subsidies helped keep people employed when federal, state and local government literally closed down the economy,” Andrzejewski said in a statement.

Using Open the Books’ mapping tool, The Center Square looked into four of New York’s most heavily populated ZIP codes within Manhattan – 10001, 10017, 10018 and 10036 – and reviewed the disparate companies and organizations that received large-scale PPP loans.

Between the four ZIP codes, which encompass such neighborhoods as Midtown and Chelsea, more than 700 PPP loans of $1 million or greater were given to grant applicants.

A total of 51 PPP loans in the highest reported threshold – $5 million to $10 million – were disbursed in the same four-ZIP code area.

Recipients in the upper tier included the Girl Scouts of the United States, headquartered at 420 5th Ave., in the 10018 ZIP code. The organization, which received widespread press attention for winding up on the list, reportedly has used the funds to fortify its internal workforce.

“Girl Scouts quickly pivoted to virtual programming at a time when both girls and their families need additional support,” a statement from an organization representative reads, in reference to the PPP loan.

Other recognizable names obtaining a PPP loan of $5 million or more within the sample area included Jordache Enterprises, 1400 Broadway, also in the 10018 ZIP code. The company is perhaps best known for its namesake jeans.

Among the list of other disparate companies and organizations is Dig Inn Restaurant Group LLC, a 26-chain fast casual eatery that was established in 2011 and offers seasonal, locally sourced meals. The company is headquartered at 1178 Broadway, in the 10001 ZIP code.

The SBA in its recent data divulge did not specify precise monetary amounts awarded to recipients. Instead, five ranges were offered, and the SBA revealed which band a grant recipient fell within.

The ranges included $150,000 to $350,000; $350,000 to $1 million; $1 million to $2 million; $2 million to $5 million; and $5 million to $10 million.

Elsewhere in the U.S., some of the companies and organizations procuring PPP funds are attached to big names.

For example, Kanye West’s clothing and sneaker company – Calabasas, Calif.-based Yeezy LLC — netted between $2 million and $5 million in PPP funding. West, whose net worth reportedly is $1.3 billion, recently announced a presidential bid.

Andrzejewski in Open the Books’ analysis said 43,815 restaurants across the U.S. received between $13.6 billion and $32.7 billion in PPP funding, based on the information analyzed from the SBA.

Other big-picture findings, Andrzejewski said, reveal nationwide 31,559 dentists and physician offices obtained $9.9 billion to $24.3 billion in PPP funds. Additionally, 14,306 law offices received $5.3 billion to $12.8 billion in loans across the U.S.

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