Downtown Facade Grant Program
Note: Work performed prior to securing City of Wheaton Facade Grant approval, does not qualify for reimbursement
The City of Wheaton Facade Grant Program is intended to encourage Downtown property owners and tenants to re-invest in and renovate their exteriors. Wheaton is fortunate to have a valuable resource of buildings in its Downtown. Revitalizing building facades is key to protecting this resource and attracting new business and customers.
Use of Funds:
Work which qualifies for reimbursement includes improvements to the exterior to the building such as painting, cleaning, tuck pointing, facade repair, window repair, or replacement signage and other permanent improvements to the property consistent with the architectural integrity of the building or site. Other eligible uses include rear access renovation and landscaping.
Funds may not be used for working capital or property, equipment, or inventory acquisition, or refinancing of existing debt, or refinancing private funding.
The structure to be rehabilitated must be located in the Former TIF District #1 or TIF District #2. The applicant must be the owner, mortgagor, contract purchaser, or long-term lessee including any private, public or non-profit entity providing goods and services to the general public.
The exterior of the property must meet all City of Wheaton Building Codes. In the event that a violation is present, correction of the violation must be made prior to disbursement of the rehab grant.
Work may not be initiated before City approval of the facade application is granted.
The City of Wheaton must approve the design of the project. For property located within the Downtown Area, the Downtown Design Guidelines for awnings are applicable. The guidelines are as follows:
- Awnings should reflect traditional prototypes in scale and placement but can be contemporary in design.
- Where applicable, awning configuration should coordinate with adjacent building awnings in height, width and profile.
- Awnings should not cover architectural elements or span across structural bays.
- Simple pitched awning profiles, either retractable or fixed, are recommended. Arched or rounded awning profiles are not recommended in the downtown core.
- Weather-treated fabric awnings or fixed metal canopies are recommended. Awnings with a shiny finish (vinyl) are not recommended.
- Awning color should be muted and should complement, rather than overwhelm, the overall building color scheme.
- Internally illuminated or back-lit awnings are not recommended.
Availability of Funds
For 2019, the City Council approved $20,000 for properties within the former TIF #1 District and $60,000 for properties located within TIF District #2.
Applicants will be reimbursed for 50% of the value of the construction up to a maximum grant of $2,500 per storefront. For the purposes of this program, a storefront shall be considered to be 25 feet of street frontage. A facade may be eligible for a grant of up to $2,500 if the total project cost is at least $5,000. A grant of up to 50% of the cost of a new awning or sign is also available up to $2,500.
An initial grant of up to $1,000 is available for conceptual architectural drawings. Additional architectural fees can be reimbursed to a maximum of $2,500 if the project is completed and executed according to a design approved by the City of Wheaton. Applicants who receive grants but do not undertake projects are required to submit all design documents to the City. Applicants and their architects are required to meet with staff prior to submitting an application.
Applications will be reviewed in the order which they are received until the budgeted funds have been expended. Approval will be based on the following criteria: the condition of the existing structure, the value of the completed improvement, and the quality of the proposed design.
- The applicant contacts the City of Wheaton Planning & Economic Development Department to determine eligibility of the project.
- The applicant completes and submits a formal program application, along with a plan drawn to scale, elevations, if any, altered facade drawn to scale, and photographs of the existing condition.
- The City staff will review the application.
- Applicant notified in writing of project approval.
- Prior to renovation, the applicant secures any required building permits.
- Applicant submits copies of paid bills and canceled checks to the City for reimbursement.
- City inspects completed project to ensure that work was performed as outlined in application.
- Applicant is reimbursed in the amount of the approved grant(s).