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Program Guidelines

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The Business Assistance Program provides financial assistance to property owners or tenants seeking to renovate or restore commercial building exteriors. The program is intended to improve the physical appearance of businesses and enhance Downtown Northville. Grant funds are made available through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars, collected by the Northville Downtown Development Authority (DDA). This program is not to be utilized for merchandise, inventory, or interior signage or fixtures.

I. Goal of the Program

The goal of the program is to achieve quality design and encourage economic investment within Downtown Northville. The Northville DDA believes that by providing incentives to spur revitalization and reinvestment in structures within the entire DDA district, it will create a more attractive downtown as well as greatly complement the goals of the Master Plan, Strategic Plan and many ongoing economic development efforts currently underway.

II. Program Descriptions

A. Technical Assistance Grant – A Technical Assistance Grant provides a 50-50 matching grant (not to exceed $500) for businesses interested in developing a marketing plan, utilizing new window display techniques, or making architectural design changes to their building. This grant is intended to assist a business owner in identifying a professional resource and for profession consultation. The grant is not intended to be used for the purchase of advertising or other products.

B. Commercial Improvement Grant – The Commercial Improvement Grant provides a 50-50 matching grant up to $5,000 for front and side facades and up to $2,500 for rear facades. Large scale projects will require a licensed architect and contractor to refine conceptual designs and to implement City approved plans. Commercial Improvement Grants are applicable only to improvements made in view of the public right-of-way.

These competitive grant programs are set up as matching grants, where the business or building owner will spend $1 and the DDA will match it with $1 up to one half of the project expenditure or the limit of the program. Both programs reimburse the applicants after the project or consultation is successfully completed.
 
III. Eligible Applicants: Property owners or leaseholders of commercial property within the DDA boundaries. A map of the DDA boundaries is available from the DDA office. In the case where the leaseholder is the applicant, the permission of the property owner is required.

IV. Eligible Properties: All existing commercial or mixed use buildings located within the DDA boundaries. Property taxes and other City accounts must be current in order to be eligible for consideration. Business owners must have a valid Business License in the City of Northville.

An applicant may apply as many times as desired, but cannot exceed the allocated per project total over a five year period. For example: a mid-block building would be eligible for a total of $7,500. Awards for funding can be made in several yearly project allocations, but cannot exceed $7,500 over any five year period.

V. Eligible Improvements: All commercial grant-funded improvements must be permanent and fixed in type and/or nature and visible from the public right-of-way. Improvements must meet all State of Michigan and City of Northville code requirements including zoning, building and safety codes. The applicant must obtain all necessary permits and pay any corresponding fees.

The DDA Board of Directors, upon recommendation from the BAP Advisory Committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of all items in a project's scope of work. Eligible items include, but may not be limited to:

  • Façade rehabilitation
  • Storefront repair or rehabilitation
  • Signage – Only projecting signage is eligible (Historic District Commission fees excluded)
  • Door and window repair or replacement
  • Exterior painting
  • Masonry cleaning and/or repair
  • Awnings
  • Lighting
  • Hardscape services (Excludes parking lot paving)
  • Roof repair/replacement (Roof must be a significant architectural element of the building and must be visible from street level in the immediate vicinity of the building.)

All improvements must be completed within one year after the contract is signed between the DDA and the applicant. If this requirement is not met, the DDA will re-evaluate the status of the project. At its discretion, the DDA reserves the right to cancel or extend the funding commitment. If, for any reason, you are not able to complete your project within the one year contract period and you would still like to complete the project you must submit in writing to the DDA office a request for an extension before your contract expires.

The entire DDA is within the boundaries of the Historic District. All improvements are, therefore, required to be reviewed and approved by the Northville Historic District Commission (HDC). You may go before the HDC any time prior to receiving an award. Please contact the Building Department to be added to the HDC agenda. A copy of the Historic District Design Standards will be provided upon request.

VI. Evaluation Criteria: The DDA's decision to accept an application will be based on available funds, the merits of the proposed project, and the support it provides to the advancement of the Strategic Plan for Downtown Northville. The following issues will be taken into consideration when reviewing the applications:

  • Significant improvement of the visual appearance of the building and surrounding area
  • The level of investment being made to the property
  • Collective participation of adjacent property owners, if applicable
  • Compatible with the Strategic Plan for Downtown Northville

If funding is not approved, applicants are encouraged to reapply during a future BAP grant cycle.

VII. Making changes after a grant has been awarded: If it becomes necessary for any reason to make changes relating to the use of a grant (e.g. using a Technical Assistance Grant for marketing purposes if the award was approved for architectural design or design changes made to a Commercial Improvement Grant), approval must be received from the BAP Advisory Committee and DDA Director before proceeding. Failure to receive written approval may cause forfeiture of award.

VIII. Maintenance: Grant recipients must agree to maintain the property and all improvements funded by the Business Assistance Program.

IX. Contact Information: For additional information about the Business Assistance Program or to set up an appointment, please contact Lori M. Ward, DDA Director at 248-349-0345.
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