WESTMINSTER REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Commercial Façade Improvement Program
The Commercial Façade Improvement Program is designed to stimulate private investment in high quality building improvements that contribute to the overall strength of Westminster’s retail centers as shopping and dining destinations. Through this program, the Westminster Redevelopment Agency will share the cost of improving building exteriors, thereby promoting joint private/public action and investment, which will complement and enhance redevelopment efforts.
Eligible Locations: Priority Areas and Focus Sites
After a citywide survey of Westminster’s commercial areas, along with an assessment of high visibility corridors and City gateway and entry areas, the City’s commercial areas have been classified using the following priority evaluation criteria below.
Priority Area Evaluation Criteria:
Area I) Visual and Physical blight at City entryways or high traffic areas
Area II) Visual and Physical blight not located at entryways or high traffic areas
Area III) Physical and Economic blighted areas
Area IV) Areas with no Visual/Physical blight, but economically underutilized
These criteria denote the order or priority in which commercial improvement projects will be evaluated and funded, with commercial properties within the areas denoted as Area I receiving first priority. The attached map identifies these areas.
In addition to the strategic framework about, the Redevelopment Agency has identified specific “Focus Sites” that will be targeted by staff as potential commercial improvement projects. These are sites that are either surrounded by properties that are already the target of private sector investment and/or new construction, or sites thought to be vital to economic development/redevelopment of the City. In order to maximize the rate of return for the Redevelopment Agency’s investment, these property owners will be contacted by staff to gauge interest in participating in the Commercial Façade Improvement Plan and these projects will be given priority over other Area I projects. The list of focus sites will be reevaluated each budget cycle.
Owners and tenants of property within the Areas above are eligible to apply for assistance. Tenants must have the property owners consent before any improvements are made. In addition, the grant application must be signed by the property owners.
The program funds are to be used for exterior building improvements rather than simple maintenance. Applications will not be accepted to refinance improvements already completed, nor improvements made to the interior building. The program provides funding of eligible costs on a reimbursement basis after work has been completed. Any applicant business(es) must have a current business license and must be in compliance with all municipal codes and be free of any outstanding violations. In order to receive funds, a completed grant application must be submitted to and approved by the program administrator prior to the beginning of work. Grants of up to $30,000 per storefront are available, conditioned upon proper maintenance of the improvements for 10 years.
Any renovations must result in significant long-term improvements to the building such as:
· Exterior wall repair, re-plastering, and painting
· Landscaping and sidewalk replacement
· Awning purchase, repair, or replacement
· Sign purchase, repair, or replacement
· Lighting purchase, repair, or replacement
· Door and window repair, or replacement
· Roofing improvements
The Commercial Façade Improvement Program will not reimburse funds for removal of illegal improvements, and/or routine maintenance.
Funding eligible property owners and/or tenants who propose façade improvements can apply for a grant up to 50 percent of the cost upon completion of improvements. The City’s matching grants are based on the amount of linear footage as shown below, but maybe amended by the Executive Director given the need of specific projects:
Linear Feet of Façade
Maximum Grant (assuming 50% of total cost)
25’ or less
26’ to 50’
51’ to 75’
76’ or more
*Grant applications approved by the Redevelopment Agency Executive Director over 30,000 will require future
Other Reimbursable Expenses
In addition to assuming up to 50 percent of the costs, City staff may refer plans for commercial improvements to the Redevelopment Agency’s architect in order to give input on the overall design of the project, at no cost to the applicant.
By accepting grant funds, the Applicant is required to enter into agreement with the Redevelopment Agency and commit to properly maintaining all improvements and to keep storefronts, as well as sides and back of building clean and free of graffiti for a minimum of ten (10) years at the Applicant’s own expense. Any damage to the façade is to be repaired immediately by the Applicant so that the building remains in good condition and positively contributes to the business area. On an ongoing basis, the Applicant is required to touch up painted areas and perform any other repairs needed to maintain building appearance including the removal of garbage, repairing of plaster, cleaning of awnings, and replacement/repair of windows.
Prevailing Wage Considerations
Any work done in relation to the Commercial Façade Improvement Program is done so with full understanding of the Redevelopment Agency’s obligation pertaining to payment of prevailing wage.
Please contact Chet Simmons with the Westminster Redevelopment Agency for more information.