Thank you for your interest in the Small Business Facade and Property Improvement Program, a product of Fostering Commercial Urban Strategies (FOCUS) at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the International Marketplace Coalition (IMC). The intent of the facade program is to jumpstart retail and commercial development by supporting quality improvements to storefronts and commercial facilities in urban neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis. The following information outlines the details of the program and includes the application.
Eligible applicants: Any building owner or tenant of a building located in the International Marketplace Area (see attached map) is eligible to apply. All applications from building tenants require the signature and approval of the building owner.
Eligible projects: Any improvement to primary front-facing commercial facades is eligible, such as attached signage and building entrances, including but not limited to: doors, windows, signage, awnings, brick, stone, wood, or other building surface material.
International Market Place initiatives will allow for the scope of facade improvements to include other improvements to create a more attractive business environment, including the removal of asphalt paving to create more greenspace, landscaping, accessibility improvements to sidewalks, pole signage or other related activities that create an attractive business retail environment. Improvements to interior public spaces in businesses that serve the general public are also eligible.
Ineligible projects: Roof repairs and new construction projects are ineligible. Grants cannot be used retroactively for building improvements already completed. Properties that are solely apartment rentals are ineligible. All related construction and improvements to be supported by the program must occur after the grant has been awarded.
Application: The Building Application Form below must be completed by each building owner or tenant requesting a facade grant and then returned to LISC electronically, along with the required supplementary application documents, to include:
- Detailed construction estimate(s) for the proposed work (include permitting fees)
- Detailed project budget
- Drawings of the improvements to be completed (if available)
- Proof of financial ability
- Photos of the building in jpeg format
Applicants are encouraged to seek assistance from their relevant area nonprofit development corporation when completing and reviewing the application, as this partnership will be necessary to complete the grant process. If assistance is needed to find or contact your nearest area development corporation, please contact the LISC office at email@example.com.
Selection Process: An independent review panel juries the awards. Prioritization is given to facade improvements based on the following accumulated criteria:
- Project location, with priority given to distressed neighborhoods and struggling corridors
- Benefit to small business owners
- Impact to the front-facing facade of the proposed building (quality design is valued)
- Support of minority, veteran, or women-owned enterprises
- Potential for job creation
- Complementary area investments and vicinity of other LISC programs such as our targeted Quality of Life Neighborhoods, Great Places and FOCUS districts (visit www.liscindianapolis.org for more information)
Design Assistance: Pro-bono architectural assistance is available on a competitive basis, which may include access to services such as drawings and floor plan sketches, property investigation and construction cost analyses. Applicants should clearly indicate whether they would like to be considered for the design assistance. Architectural drawings and other design-related support materials will be requested from most applicants. A pre-application meeting with a design or architectural firm and the area community development organization may be required.
Grant Awards: The Facade Improvement Program will reimburse up to 50% of the total project costs upon full completion of the approved renovation. The maximum contribution awarded per address is $20,000. Some awards are sourced from publicly-funded dollars, and will require additional compliance and procedures related to the grant process.
Federal Regulations and Compliance: Some projects whose total costs are in excess of $2,000 must be prepared to comply with the Federal Davis Bacon rules, including prevailing wage requirements. Guidance will be provided to awardees to assist with this process.
Receiving the grant: If awarded, LISC underwrites a grant agreement for the recipient together with the relevant area nonprofit development corporation, who will administer the grant funds and process. An initial meeting with LISC, the neighborhood organization, and the award recipient will be required to finalize the responsibilities of all parties. The award recipient is required to give regular updates throughout the construction process. After the project is complete to satisfaction of all parties, and only upon receipt of proof of payment documentation (paid invoices and cancelled checks), the neighborhood organization will issue the matching funds to the award recipient on behalf of LISC.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling/monthly basis.
Application deadline: Applications will be received at any time; Applications received after September, will be considered for the subsequent calendar year
Award Announcements: Award announcements will be communicated within 60 days of submission of a fully submitted application
Project Completion: TBA
Timeline: Once awarded, projects typically follow the below sequence in order to complete the project and receive the reimbursement of funds:
- Award communicated
- Meeting with LISC and the neighborhood to review program criteria, finalize designs and scope of work
- Vet project with relevant public departments for any necessary reviews (each project will differ)
- Bid project
- Select contractor(s)
- Pull permits and order materials
- Begin construction
- Complete project and conduct final “post construction” meeting for sign off
- Paperwork submitted/Grant Reimbursement Completed
Address questions and return completed application electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-454-8488 with questions.