Facade Rehabilitation Grant Program

Put Your Business Out in Front!

Last updated Apr. 10, 2019 - 1:42 pm
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There’s no denying it; first impressions really do count. What your customers and—more important—what your potential customers see when they look at your business from the street can make or break your relationship with them. But, with the expenses associated with growing any type of enterprise in today’s marketplace, who can afford to worry about what the outside of a business looks like? With the help available from the City of Raleigh, you can.

Established in the 1980s to assist businesses and property owners in Raleigh’s Downtown and older commercial districts, the Facade Grant Program has helped more than 100 businesses put a new “face” on the way they market their goods and services. Providing up to $10,000 in grant rebates for each project, this program makes it possible for businesses of any size to refurbish the exterior of existing buildings; restoring them to their former glory or reinventing them for exciting new directions.

Funding and Eligibility

Before and After Fayetteville Street

How does the Facade Grant Program work?
Businesses located in the Targeted Economic Development Areas of Raleigh may use funds for specified exterior building improvements including lighting, signage or awnings, murals, and art. Businesses must adhere to certain design guidelines and have all the necessary approvals to be eligible.

What types of improvements qualify for funding?
Facade Grant funds are available for the following improvements:

Façade Items:

  • Removal of false fronts (such as aluminum panels)
  • Repair or replacement of windows, doors, and cornices
  • Repair or replacement of façade materials
  • New signage
  • New awnings
  • Exterior lighting
  • Exterior painting (when associated with a larger rehabilitation effort)
  • Design and construction costs

Art & Mural Items:

  • Artist fees
  • Labor costs and equipment rental
  • Construction and material costs
  • Exterior painting and lighting costs.

Routine maintenance is NOT eligible for funding by the Facade Grant program.

How much funding am I eligible for?

For businesses located in the University Village District, grant rebates of up to $10,000 or 50% of exterior rehabilitation costs (whichever is less) are available.

For businesses within the targeted economic development area may be eligible for up to $5,000 or 50% of exterior rehabilitation costs (whichever is less).


Before and After Hargett Street

How do I qualify for a Facade Grant?
For those inside the University Village Pedestrian Business Overlay District, the following criteria must be met:

For other eligible areas, they must meet the criteria of the applicable streetscape plan for the area in which the business is located.

For those in areas without a streetscape plan, applications will be reviewed based upon compliance with the Downtown Urban Design and Facade Grant Guidelines (Table DT-1) of the Downtown Element section of the city's 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

Are there other eligibility requirements?
In addition to the criteria previously mentioned, applicants for the Facade Grant Program must also meet the following requirements:

  • Building must be retail or mixed-use business
  • Building must be a pre-existing structure that cannot be less than ten (10) years old at the time of application submittal
  • Building must have an active ground floor area and be accessible to the primary street
  • Building must be located in a targeted economic development area as defined by in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan – Map ED-1:Target Areas for Economic Development
  • Must adhere to zoning build-to requirements, have frontage assigned, or be located on a mixed-use street
  • Certificate of Appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission must be obtained for any business façade in a local historic district before applying for the grant
  • Mural and art applicants will be required to go to the Raleigh Art and Design Board during the application process and receive approval for the proposed design
  • Mural and art cannot be interpreted as signage for any businesses as determined by the Unified Development Ordinances
  • Property owners or business tenants may apply
  • Tenant applicants must have the building owner’s written approval
  • Mural and Art applicants, if not tenant or property owner must have the approval of those.
  • All applications must be submitted and approved prior to beginning construction
  • Rehabilitation work must comply with all applicable Raleigh city codes, ordinances, and policies
  • Work must be completed within 12 months of the date of project approval
  • Applicant must agree to maintain the façade for a period of 10 years
  • Upon completion and review of the work, the applicant must submit proof of payment (e.g., paid invoices) for the rehabilitation in order to receive reimbursement from the city.
  • Applicants applying for a mural or art installation will be required to submit a conceptual plan or rendering with accurate colors, size, theme and targeted property facade identified. Along with the application and conceptual plan, applicants will be required to submit a list of references and work samples to be reviewed by city staff. Other required items include the estimated start and completion date of the mural and required agreements with property owners that specify the understanding of mural maintenance and duration of the mural on the property.

What other information do I need before applying for a Facade Grant?

Success Story – Alamo Draft House

Facade Rehabilitation Grant success story.

Success Story – Liquid State

Facade Rehabilitation Grant success story.

Success Story – The Roast Grill

Facade Rehabilitation Grant success story.

Success Story – Pelagic

Another Facade Rehabilitation Grant success story.

Who do I contact about the Facade Grant Program?

Before and After Wilmington Street

Elizabeth Nooe
Raleigh Urban Design Center
Department of City Planning
1 Exchange Plaza, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27601

Looking for a way to increase customer traffic, gain more exposure and build the brand for your business? Sure you are! And, with the city's Facade Grant Program, you can do all of these things without having to spend a hefty portion of your annual budget. Call today to find out how to get started!

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