Facade Improvement Program
Are you eligible?
Richmond storefronts are some of the finest in the entire Commonwealth. However, many have suffered through years of insensitive changes, lack of maintenance, or outright neglect. Studies have shown that restoration and thoughtful design improvements often lead to greater business success by attracting more customers. Well-restored and handsome building façades draw more people to city's commercial districts, promote retail activity, increase vibrancy, and make a place where our local businesses can thrive.
For these reasons, the City of Richmond is offering a matching grant to encourage façade improvements within selected zones. Suitable projects include uncovering and restoring historical façades, removing existing façade materials and replacing them with more appropriate and attractive designs and materials, architectural lighting of the façade, and other detailing which leads to a substantially enhanced appearance of the building. Projects meeting these objectives are eligible for a reimbursement grant for up to one-half of the costs of the eligible façade improvements.
For additional information, please contact:
Erica A. Banks
Façade Improvement Program Details:
Eligible Zones: Arts and Cultural District Incentive Zone & Hull Street Zone (see map)
Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted
Total Program Budget: $100,000 (Arts &Cultural District Incentive Zone); $250,000 (Hull Street Zone)
Eligible Costs: Complete renovation/rehabilitation of building façade (including design and permit fees)
Eligible Applicants: Tenants/owners of buildings within the Arts and Cultural District Incentive Zone
The City has several documents available to assist with designing and building a successful façade improvement in Richmond. Please review each of them before moving forward with your application.
Arts & Cultural District Zone - Notice of Funding Opportunity
Hull Street Zone - Notice of Funding Opportunity
Façade Design Guide
The City of Richmond does not recommend specific providers for design services or contracting on this program; however, we encourage you to use the Office of Minority Business’ Directory if you do not already have a service provider in mind.
What are eligible costs for a project?
The program will fund projects that significantly improve the visual appearance of the entire facade from the street. Suitable projects include uncovering and restoring historical facades, removing existing façade materials and replacing them with more appropriate and attractive designs and materials, architectural lighting of the façade, and other detailing which leads to a substantially enhanced appearance of the building.
Although not eligible for funding on their own, the following may be funded as part of a more comprehensive façade improvement; windows, doors, exterior cleaning, tuck pointing, painting, shutters, and gutters. Design and permit fees associated with the construction are also eligible project costs.
Costs that are NOT eligible include: improvements in progress or completed prior to program application and preliminary approval, new construction, repair or replacement of a roof, work to an alley façade, routine maintenance that is not part of an eligible façade improvement project, billboards and signage, awnings, mechanicals and HVAC systems, interior work, security systems, trash and mechanical enclosures, fencing, parking areas, landscaping, and paving.
What if I want to do a larger renovation that includes ineligible costs?
That’s great! But only eligible costs incurred for a façade renovation can be covered by this grant. The larger project will need to go through all existing permitting processes in addition to the Façade Improvement Program. More information about building permits can be found here. Some of these costs may be eligible under the Jackson Ward CARE Zone administered by the Economic Development Authority (more information available here).
(1) Submit complete application
(2) Pre-Development Meeting
(3) Staff conducts a site visit;
(4) Award communicated by staff;
(5) Pull permits and order materials;
(6) Begin construction;
(7) Complete project;
(8) Submitted reimbursement request with contractor invoices and proof of payment;
(9) Grant Reimbursement Completed.
The Broad Street Block Blitz was a volunteer-driven event on October 26-27, 2013. With building owner’s permissions, façades along the 300 block of East Broad Street were cleaned, painted, and repaired. The City provided a small grant of $5,000 for this event, which updated over 11 storefronts along the Block.
Check out this storymap with all the FIP projects:
Downtown Arts District & Cultural District Incentive Zone
Click here to see if a property is in the Downtown Arts District & Cultural District Incentive Zone
City Old & Historic Districts