Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program
Neighborhood business districts are the front door of our neighborhoods. A welcoming, vibrant business district sends a powerful, positive message, just as a poorly maintained or vacant row of storefronts conveys a negative impression.
The Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program works to revitalize and sustain the economic vitality of the city’s commercial districts through public/private investments in façade projects for commercial properties. Façade improvements make an aesthetic impact, improving the appearance of individual buildings and consequently entire commercial districts. Façade improvements can enhance the sense of place and make commercial areas more inviting and interesting places to walk and shop. The City’s façade program helps guide façade projects toward architecturally and historically sensitive improvements that are attractive and functional, helping create a coordinated streetscape.
Highly visible investments in commercial properties not only improve residents’ and visitors’ perceptions of an area, they also spur improvements by nearby businesses and attract new businesses. Façade improvement matching grants leverage private investment in commercial properties and in many instances are a business recruitment tool. As a resource to new businesses, façade grants can be an incentive for choosing a specific building because of an investment made by the property owner that helps a prospective business see the potential in a vacant space or to help pay for tenant improvements.
The program is successful. From 2008–2012, the Great Streets façade program stimulated $2,041,821 of private investment and $1,094,873 of public investment in 339 façade improvement projects citywide. A few highlights include the following (these examples periodically change):
How does the program work? What do grants pay for?
The program's Business Guidelines explain how the program works, what types of improvements are eligible in the program, which are not, and other important information about the program. Read this document carefully before you begin planning your project.
Who can apply?
Building owners and commercial tenants (with property owner’s approval) can apply for a Great Streets façade grant if:
1. the façade improvements are for a commercial business or commercial building, meaning it has a retail or office use AND
2. they are located within an eligible business district (pdf).
Some neighborhood organizations also fund facade improvement programs through their Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) dollars. The Neighborhood & Community Relations website has contact information for all Minneapolis neighborhoods to find out if your neighborhood has a program.
Need design ideas?
The Great Streets Façade Design Guide is a fabulous resource for all commercial property owners and business owners considering façade changes or updates. The encouraged projects listed are eligible for façade grants and the discouraged activities are all ineligible.
For more information
Contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
Request for Proposals
The City will issue the next Façade Improvement Program RFP in September 2013. Façade improvement grant administration contracts are awarded to community organizations who then administer the program in specific areas on behalf of the City of Minneapolis. Areas eligible for Great Streets Façade Improvement Program contracts are commercial corridors, commercial nodes, LRT station areas, and activity centers. For more information, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
Online information from the City of Minneapolis at MinneapolisMN.gov/CPED
Last updated Mar. 15, 2013