As part of the City’s efforts to promote retail downtown through the Mile on High incentive program, retailers are eligible for a Downtown Retail Grant Program whereby up to $5,000 in façade improvements can be funded. This is a matching grant; applicants must match the grant amount dollar-for-dollar. And grant money may be used for work on the exterior of the building only, for items such as lighting, signage, awnings and replacement doors or windows. They may not be used for free-standing signs, roofs, outdoor seating, landscaping or sidewalk improvements.
Mark Ballard of Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties said, “The matching grant of the façade improvement program was an important factor in our decision to open a Sugardaddy’s shop in Downtown Columbus. The program allowed us to more fully articulate our brand visually and to reduce start-up costs. Our façade improvement has resulted in attracting new customers to our business as well as improving the vibrancy of Gay Street.”
Either the owner of the retail space or a tenant may apply for the grant, though there is only one grant per store front. The Neighborhood Design Center offers free design service and assistance with the applications process. You can contact Executive Director Al Berthold at 614.221.5001.