By Tim Ryan

The City of Norfolk, Virginia, in collaboration with the local business community, has launched the Façade Improvement Grant. This new initiative aims to rejuvenate urban commercial corridors and elevate the neighborhoods they serve, making Norfolk an even more vibrant and diverse community.

The Façade Improvement Grant offers financial support to eligible commercial building owners and small businesses, providing the means to undertake both exterior and interior renovations. From a fresh coat of paint and improved lighting to new signage and aesthetic enhancements, the grant will help align renovations with the unique character of Norfolk’s commercial areas.

This initiative speaks volumes of Norfolk’s commitment to fostering economic growth, sustainable development, and improving community aesthetics. It sets the stage for a journey of transformation, paving the way for a more prosperous future for all who live, work, and do business in Norfolk.

Eligibility for the grant extends to Norfolk-based business owners and commercial property owners who are looking to improve their properties or expand their existing businesses. The grant is also open to home-based businesses planning to transition into bricks-and-mortar premises. However, franchises, non-profit organizations, and religious institutions are not eligible for the grant.

Applicants must adhere to specific requirements including conceptual drawings/renderings before application submission, up-to-date tax, permit, and fee payments, and mandatory attendance at a Commercial Corridor Façade Grant Workshop. Ineligible entities for the grant include not-for-profit, faith-based organizations, political organizations, and certain types of businesses.

The grant provides up to $50,000 for property owners and up to $25,000 for tenants/businesses, both requiring a 10% match. All projects funded must be completed within one year from the execution of the grant agreement. Allowable purchases include, but are not limited to, renovations like exterior building enhancements, interior upgrades, and architectural/design services. The grant does not cover costs like purchasing real estate, inventory, and operating licenses.

The 2023 Facade Improvement Grant Applications are set to open on Tuesday, August 1st at 9:00 am and close on Friday, September 8th at 11:59 pm. Applicants must attend a mandatory workshop prior to applying and check the Required Documents Checklist to ensure a successful application.

The Façade Improvement Grant is a testament to Norfolk’s dedication to growth, development, and community. It will bring new life to our commercial corridors, strengthening the bond between businesses and the neighborhoods they serve. Please visit the Commercial Corridor Program page for more information about the grant and application process or download a brochure here.