Facade Improvement Grant Program
Download the Application The Downtown Façade Grant is offered by the Downtown Association of Yakima (DAY), a Main Street community. This program is offered to downtown business and property owners who desire to make improvements to the façade of their buildings. The Downtown Association of Yakima works to promote revitalization and offers technical, as well as financial assistance to assure our historical buildings and district are preserved, maintained, and rehabilitated properly.
The façade program is handled by our Design Committee, whose role is to enhance the look and feel of the commercial district. Historic building rehabilitation, street and alley clean-up, landscaping, street furniture, signage, visual merchandising and lighting all improve the physical image of the downtown as a quality place to shop, work, walk, invest in, and live. Design improvements result in a reinvestment of public and private dollars to downtown.
A. Who is eligible?
- Owner(s) of a business – Each business is eligible for up to 50% match of improvement costs including design, to a maximum of $10,000 total grant funds;
- Owner(s) of a commercial building – Each building is eligible for up to 50% match of improvement costs including design, to a maximum of $10,000 total grant funds;
- If a property is leased or purchased under contract, all parties to the lease or contract must agree in writing to the improvements.
- Eligibility is based on property. A property owner with multiple properties may apply for funds to improve each property. A business owner with multiple storefront business facades may apply for funds to improve each business.
- Business/building must be located within the Downtown Yakima “Main Street Program” Area (see attached map on pg. 7).
- Only new projects are eligible for funding, projects cannot already be underway at the time the application is submitted.
- Total project costs cannot exceed $150,000.
B. What is eligible?
Eligible facade expenses may include, but not be limited to, design, exterior painting, exterior brick maintenance, restoration of historic building features, lighting, signage, weatherization, purchase of new (or replacement of older) awnings that are visible from rights-of-way.
C. What grant funds are available?
- Each year grant funds available will vary based on the yearly budget. As a result, the size and number of grants will vary from year to year.
- No more than $10,000 total grant funds will be awarded to a single building or single business within 5 years of the award of a previous received grant. Example: Grant funding of $5,000 is received in 2015, and another $5,000 is received in 2018. No further grants may be awarded until 2023.
D. When will grants be available?
The grant application deadline for 2016 has been extended. The application process will be open for as long as funding is still available. Grants will begin to be awarded once the application deadline has past, review is completed and DAY Board has given approval. This is the first year of the program and DAY’s goal is to begin awarding grants as early as 5/1/2016.
E. What are the limitations?
- Funds are intended for improvements to exterior facades of buildings only. The term “improvement” in this program also includes: rehabilitation, restoration, maintenance, as well as, new improvements.
- Facades must be visible from right-of-way. Interiors, roofs, and facades not visible from public right-of-way are not eligible for a grant.
- Funds are intended for future work to be performed, not work completed. Only those costs for project design completed may be included in the project budget submitted for the grant.
- Design for a building must be consistent with all multiple grant applications associated with that building. A single building with more than one storefront business or facade is eligible for funds for only one design, but each independent tenant business’ storefront (must have a separate mailing address and direct entrance off the street) is eligible for grant funding. A store with a front and a back door counts as just one storefront.
F. What is the Commitment & Project Schedule?
- The applicant (building or business owner) must agree to complete the project in a timely manner. DAY Board approval of an application qualifies a project for re-imbursement.
- The applicant has 90 days from the date of acceptance to commence work on the project. If the work has not commenced by that time, the applicant must notify the Grant Committee (or DAY Board) in writing of the delay and the intent to either:
- Withdraw from participation in the program without re-imbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses ; or
- Initiate work by a proposed date (if agreed to and accepted by the Grant Committee) with a project completion date no later than 120 days from the original date of acceptance.
- The project must be completed within 120 days of acceptance unless a time extension is approved. If the project will run past 120 days, the applicant must submit for a time extension in writing to the Grant Committee. This grant offering is not to be construed as a blanket offer of funds for any other project.
- A project started before the design is approved and grant awarded will not be approved, in which case the applicant must bear the full cost of the project or the cost of a redo that meets the design guidelines.
- Changing the design without DAY and City approvals voids the agreement and leaves the applicant(s) totally liable for the cost of the project, including reimbursement for architectural fees.
G. What is the application process?
- Applicants are encouraged to talk to the City Planning Department early on regarding their project to determine what City applications and permits are needed for their project.
- Submit Grant Application and materials to Colleda.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Grant Committee reviews all applications. Applicants may be requested to in-person present their proposal to the Grant Committee. Grant Committee presents recommendations to DAY Board.
- The DAY Board makes final decision for award of grants. Grant applicants are notified of the grant awards.
- Applicant(s) awarded a grant are required to sign a notarized Final Grant Agreement recognizing the award amount, any update to the application, modifications, new information received, specific requirements and/or conditions.
- If not already in hand, the applicant is required to obtain all approvals, permits and/or letters of exemption from the City prior to the beginning of work. Failure to obtain City approvals, permits or letters of exemption prior to beginning work will likely jeopardize some or all of the grant reimbursements for project costs.
- Within 90 days of project completion, the applicant must submit photographs of the completed project, along with receipts showing payment for all project expenses, to the Grant Committee who reviews and makes a recommendation for payment to the DDTF Board.
- A reimbursement check equal to 50% of the approved project expenses (not to exceed $10,000 per project) in the name of the applicant(s) as stated on the grant application form.
H. What is included in the application?
Initial application submitted to the Grant Committee must include:
- Façade Project Application Form Completed,
- Façade Improvement Agreement with signatures of the building owner (or owners) and applicable business/tenant with a designated storefront,
- Architectural rendering of the design, or other materials to portray the improvement(s) proposed. Applicants may procure architectural services on their own, or work with the Grant Committee to secure renderings,
- “Before” photograph(s),
- Special design boards and/or materials, samples of paint chips or other materials to be used as part of the project,
- Contractor Bid estimates for proposed work and actual invoices for costs of the design work,
- Financial statement regarding the source for the other matching funding,
- Explanation of how the proposed project meets the criteria for award of a grant. See Section J. of Introduction and Instructions, and,
- Background information as to the building’s age, current uses & proposed uses, and historical pictures of the building if possible.
I. Program Administration
The Grant Committee is responsible for overseeing design review of all applications and is responsible for administration of the Facade Improvement Program. The DAY Board awards grants and has final authority for the disbursement of funds.
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR GRANT APPLICATION
J. What is the criteria for rating grant applications?
Award of a grant is a discretionary decision by the DAY based on the criteria below. Award of grants may also be competitive should there be more quality projects than funds available. Note that it is not necessary to meet all criteria to have a project which qualifies for a grant.
- Consistent Design – Required. The applicant must demonstrate that the design for the building/business is consistent will all multiple grant applications associated with that building. A single building with more than one storefront business or facade is eligible for funds for only one design, but each independent tenant business‘ storefront (must have a separate mailing address and direct entrance off the street) is eligible for grant funding. A store with a front and a back door counts as just one storefront.
- Critical need. Special consideration will be given, if there is a safety risk to the public or need to bring the building’s facade into building code compliance.
- Historic Character. The project will rehabilitate a building or business storefront in keeping with the historic character of Yakima.
- More bounce for the ounce. Facade project will make a noticeable improvement to the downtown.
- Location. Façade project faces Main Street or a well-traveled street.
- Qualified Professionals and Contractors. It is preferred that the project will include qualified professionals and contractors with experience. However, sweat equity may be considered in the total project costs, if the applicant demonstrates the knowledge, skills and experience in preforming work associated with the project.
- Completed Application. Those grant applications that are complete and filed on time will have preference over those that do not.
- Ready for Start.
- If a sign and/or building permit is required, a façade improvement project that has received a sign and/or building permit approval or a determination that the project is exempt from a sign and/or building permit will have preference over those that do not yet have approval or exempt determination.
- The project is shown to have a viable schedule for completion within 120 days of award of grant.
- All signs should comply with the codes listed in Yakima Municipal Code Title 15.08
- Design Considerations:
The following criteria will be used when a project includes one or more of these elements.
- Canvas awnings should be of high quality material.
- Awnings should have a traditional shape such as a tent shape or be rounded when the opening is arched. Aluminum or plastic awnings should not be used.
- Signs should be of a size, placement, design, materials, and style compatible with the building size and age, as well as other buildings on the block and should not cover or obscure significant architectural detailing or features.
- Hanging signs may be appropriate if they are of a scale and design compatible with the building and other buildings on the block. Lettering should be of a scale and design that is appropriate to the building.
- Fluorescent “day glow” sign colors are not allowed on any sign as part of the grant program.
- c. Paint Color
- Paint color should be, at a minimum, appropriate to the style and setting of the building. Color selection should complement the building, as well as other buildings in the block.
- Color schemes for wall and major decorative trim or details should be kept simple; in most cases, the color or colors chosen for a storefront should be used on other painted exterior detailing (windows, shutter, cornice, etc.) to unify upper and lower portions of the facade.
- The DDTF encourages the colors that are listed in a historic color paint palette for the age of the building.
- The original form and materials used in windows is encouraged to be preserved.
- When replacing windows, use of high energy efficient windows is encouraged.