Improve Your Storefront

by | Feb 12, 2023 | Community

The Small Business Facade and Property Improvement Program provides grants to property and small business owners that are interested in renovating the front exterior. This grant was created to encourage property owners and small businesses to improve the exterior of their buildings and storefronts to attract new customers and beautify the area. These front exterior improvements could include signage, exterior lighting, windows, murals, painting, doors, and/or structural or design changes. For examples of past awarded projects, click here. This is a rebate program where business and property owners receive reimbursement for between 50-90% of the cost of the project in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 for completed work.  

These are the projects that will be prioritized to receive funding:  

  • Minority-owned properties and businesses 
  • Small businesses and property owned by Indianapolis residents 
  • Commercial property or businesses located in LISC neighborhoods
  • Façade improvements that incorporate design elements to prevent crime
  • Exterior improvements that can be completed in 6 months 

All commercial properties in Marion County are eligible (except apartments and buildings used for religious purposes). Applications will open Monday, January 30th through Friday, March 17th at midnight. To apply, you will need to have work estimates, project budget, financial statement, and photos of the building ready to attach to the application. After the application period closes, a review committee will review applications and collectively decide whether to award a project and the grant amount in the following weeks. Click here to see a list of 2023 Facade and Property Improvement Grant committee members.

Exterior improvements not only beautify an area, but intentional design elements can prevent crime and improve the neighborhood quality of life (e.g. nighttime lighting, windows looking onto streets and parking lots, etc.). For more information on how to incorporate crime prevention design in your building improvements, you can find more information here. If you plan to do a mural for your business or commercial property, please review this helpful information and connect with Julia Moore, Director of Public Art, or 317-631-3301 x 240 to discuss your mural plans. 

Before applying, please read the program guidance and CPTED Tips for Businesses to make your application more competitive. LISC Indianapolis created a directory to serve as a resource for property and business owners who are seeking local minority-owned businesses to do construction and/or facade improvement work. 

Projects that are ineligible for the façade program: 

  • Residential properties, business based in homes 
  • Apartment/residential buildings 
  • Properties outside of Marion County, Indianapolis 
  • A commercial building that has a primary purpose as a place of worship (or religious-related use) is not eligible. 
  • Commercial buildings that house establishments related to gambling, casinos, gun stores, adult book stores, etc.  

Application Tips:  

  • Commercial properties that are vacant and do not have identified an end use (office, retail, etc.) or a tenant (at least a letter of intent) are not going to be as competitive. 
  • Applicants that would like to request façade grant funds to cover exterior lighting are encouraged to read the CPTED Tips for Businesses and Commercial Properties section on eligible exterior lighting fixtures. 
  • Façade Improvement Grant funds may be requested for art murals on the façade of businesses and building. Preference for murals to be completed by local, minority/immigrant/women artists. 
  • Façade improvement grant applications that have a support letter from the local community development corporation will be more competitive. Click here for a map of the community development corporations (CDC). If you need an introduction to a local CDC, reach out to Alex Oleson.

For help with applications, please contact Indy Gateway. The community organization will assist any West Washington Street business interested in applying for a facade grant and will serve as the required community development organization partner.

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