City calls on small businesses to apply for revitalization grants by Aug. 17
Gregg Watkins
Revitalization Grants

The City of Charlotte is encouraging local businesses, property owners and developers to submit applications by August 17 for a variety of innovative grant programs to assist with the cost of improving properties located in challenged neighborhoods.

Under the umbrella of the Business Matching Grant Program, the city is targeting support for businesses in disadvantaged neighborhoods where owners can receive grant money for a variety of improvements, including:

  • Brownfield assessment
  • Façade improvement
  • Interior upfit
  • Security

Often, buildings are eligible for multiple grants. Application deadlines are quarterly with the next deadlines for 2020 occurring August 17 and November 16.

During the quarter ending May of 2020 the city issued more than $1 million in grants, approximately four times a typical May quarter of previous years.

Eligible properties

The revitalization program targets properties in the city's Business Corridor Revitalization Geography, an area of challenged neighborhoods often generally referred to as the "crescent." 

To find out if your business is located in an area eligible for an improvement grant, visit the city's interactive map.

"This program is one of the many ways the City of Charlotte is working to create economic opportunity in all of our neighborhoods," said Todd DeLong, Assistant Director of Economic Development. "By creating vibrant corridors, we strengthen entire neighborhoods for both residents and business owners."

Interior Upfit Improvement Grant

The Interior Upfit Improvement Grant assists commercial property owners and/or commercial tenants with improvements and renovations to the interior of a business. It can be coupled with the Facade and Security Improvement Grants to provide overall revitalization.

The interior upfit grant provides up to 50% reimbursement to commercial or industrial businesses or property and can be applied to numerous repairs and renovations, including:

  • interior mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Flooring
  • interior lighting
  • utility upgrades
  • removal and installation of interior walls
  • restrooms

Interested business owners should contact Erin Gillespie at 704.432.2948 for more information about the Interior Uplift Improvement Grant.

Façade Improvement Grant

The Façade Improvement Grant Program seeks to improve neighborhoods by assisting businesses and commercial property owners with improving building appearance and by bringing signs, parking and landscaping into conformance with current codes.

Toucan Louies BEFORE

Marc Kieffer used a façade and security grant to help convert a long-abandoned gas station into a neighborhood café and roastery. The building dates to 1955 and had been empty for 25 years.

"This area is in a bit of a food desert. A lot of people from the neighborhood come in and appreciate that we are here. The grant process was straightforward and easy to do."- Marc Kieffer, owner, Toucan Louie's

Toucan Louies After

Eligible façade improvements include: 

  • Approved architectural renovations to the building facade
  • Improvements to bring grandfathered signage, parking and landscaping into conformance with current codes.
  • Eligible architectural fees, in addition to maximum award amount
  • Infrastructure improvements in the public right-of-way for change of use permits

Apply for the Façade Improvement - Business Matching.

Business Security Grant

The Business Security Grant Program develops relationships between corridor businesses and community police officers while at the same time reducing the opportunity for crime by helping business and property owners create a safer environment for employees and customers.

Improvements may include alarm systems, ironwork, gates, security lighting and more.

Apply for the Business Security – Business Matching Grant.

Business District Organization Grant

The Business District Organization Grant Program is a matching, reimbursement grant program that supports the work of business organizations serving targeted business districts.

The city will provide up to $30,000 in reimbursed matching funds per year to qualified business district organizations for eligible expenses, including operating and administrative costs, advertising expenses and others.

Interested business owners should contact Erin Gillespie at 704.432.2948 for more information about the Business District Organization Grant.

Brownfield Assessment Grant

The Brownfield Assessment Grant assists business and property owners and infill developers with overcoming the barriers contamination presents for the redevelopment of underutilized Brownfield sites in Charlotte's distressed business districts and neighborhoods.

A Brownfield is a vacant or under-utilized property that may be environmentally contaminated and has redevelopment potential.

Brownfield redevelopment removes blight, increases the tax base, retains and attracts quality businesses and reduces the potential of harm to the community from environmental contamination.

Apply for the Brownfield Assessment Grant.

Sweet Lews BEFORE

Building owner John Lambert used several city grants including a Brownfield Assessment Grant and Façade Improvement Grant while converting a former service station into restaurant space, now home to Sweet Lew's Barbeque.

"These grants helped us make sense of a challenging economic deal while preserving the building's character. It helped us do something positive that everyone can be proud of." - John Lambert, building owner

Sweet Lews After