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Commercial Facade & Landscaping Program

Choice Neighborhood

Business Resources

Enhanced Facade & Landscaping Program

Guide to Business Toolbox

  • Facade Grants

  • Signage Grants

  • Retail Investment Funds

  • White Box Grants

Only available for businesses on Silver Spring Dr., 76th St., Mill Rd. (south side), & Villard Ave. (north side)

Click here for the full brochure on Choice Neighborhood Business Resources 

Façade Grant

The Façade Grant program was established by the Department of City Development to enhance the physical appearance of commercial corridors by providing financial assistance for exterior building enhancements to eligible property owners and lessees. Applicant's total project cost must exceed $2,000 for eligibility. Routine maintenance and repairs are not eligible. This program provides up to 80% in reimbursements for eligible costs. HUD matching funds through the critical community improvements plan and Havenwoods Economic Development Corp. (HEDC) may be available.

Eligible Improvements

Eligible improvements that may be considered:

  • Complete façade renovation

  • New sign (must adhere to façade design guidelines)

  • Windows and door repair or replacement

  • Awnings

  • Façade restoration of brickwork and masonry

  • Landscaping and fencing

  • Painting or cleaning of the façade exterior

  • Exterior Lighting

Signage Grant

The Signage Grant Program was established to provide business owners financial incentive to add signage to commercial buildings in order to better promote their business to patrons and potential customers. This program provides up to 80% in reimbursements for eligible costs. HUD matching funds through the critical community improvements plan an Havenwoods Economic Development Corp. (HEDC) may be available.

Eligible Improvements

Eligible improvements that may be considered:

  • Sign boards

  • Awning Signs

  • Display window lettering

  • Hanging signs

  • Transom signs

  • Neon signs

  • Channel letter signs

White Box Grant

The White Box Program is designed to provide targeted financial incentives to increase the vitality of the neighborhood commercial corridors. The funds will assist in recruiting new businesses to vacant commercial/retail tenant spaces in commercial buildings. This incentive will offer reimbursable grant funds up to $25,000.

Eligible Use of Funds

The White Box Grant may be used on certain expenditures to prepare a vacant commercial space for tenancy. Eligible expenses typically include base improvements such as flooring, ceiling, rough carpentry, drywall, plumbing, electric, and HVAC.

Additional Information

This is a reimbursement program. For more information regarding required materials for the application, eligibility requirements and application review process, see the White Box Program guidelines and requirements online at milwaukee.gov/WhiteBox.

Retail Investment Fund

The Retail Investment Fund (RIF) Program assists retail development projects by providing grants to businesses in commercial districts that create jobs. Home-based businesses do not qualify. The size of the RIF grant is determined by the number of jobs created and the amount of private investment, among other factors. Only eligible, pre-approved grant related expenses will be reimbursed to the grantee.

Eligible Use of Funds

Following approval of the application, RIF funds may be used for the activities below:

  • Architecture and Engineering (A&E) costs

  • Purchase of furniture, fixtures, and equipment

  • Start-up inventory

  • Build out and remodeling

Matching Funds Required

The RIF Program requires matching of funds and the creation of new jobs. The award generally does not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the project budget. Program may not be used in combination with the White Box Program.

Additional Information

This is a reimbursement program. For more information regarding required materials and application review process, see the RIF Program guidelines and requirements online at milwaukee.gov/RIF.

Interested in learning more about these programs or need an application?

Visit us online: milwaukee.gov/BusinessToolbox

Email us: facadegrants@milwaukee.gov

Call the Business Resource Hotline: (414) 286-8201

Visit us at: Department of City Development,

                   809 N. Broadway, Room 104

Contact Paul Williams, CNI Coordinator, at paul.williams@hacm.org for additional information