Storefront Mini Grant Project
WHAT IS THE STOREFRONT MINI GRANT PROJECT?
Division Midway Alliance (DMA) developed the Storefront Mini Grant program to help businesses and property owners in the Division Midway district improve their storefronts. In 2018 to 2019, 6 businesses received the Storefront Grant, with the total amount received about $55,660.00.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE STOREFRONT MINI GRANT?
DMA is working to support and strengthen business and property owners. It encourages exterior improvements that create a unique and attractive image for each business and building.
This grant will fund improvement projects that increase the visibility and street presence of the business. Interior projects that are “sticks and bricks” (i.e. stay with the building) are also eligible for funding as well. DMA supports mini-grant projects that achieve these goals affordably so that business and property owners are benefitted rather than burdened by the revitalization projects.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR FUNDING?
Any building owner or tenant with lease authority and authorization from the property owner can apply for funding. The project site must be located in the Division-Midway target area (along Division Street from SE 117th to SE 148th and along 122nd from SE Sherman St. (North) to SE Clinton St. – see the attached map). Tenants must have a minimum of two years remaining on their lease or an option to renew.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING? Examples of possible projects include but are not limited to:
● Exterior Lighting and Interior Lighting
● Street Trees
● Awning removal or improvement
● Tree Well Improvements
● Exterior Paint or Interior Paint
● Unique Bike Racks
● Door/window replacement and weatherization
● Signage (not including A-Boards)
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS ARE INELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING?
The Mini Grant Program is not intended to cover the costs of extensive deferred maintenance, such as power washing, or major redesign and structural work. For example, while a small grant may cover the cost of new light fixtures and installation, it is not appropriate for major redesign and structural work, if that is necessary to hang the fixture. The grant is not intended to cover the cost of installing or replacing objects that will not stay with the building, such as moveable landscaping pots, interior seating, fixtures, and display cases.
ARE THERE DESIGN GUIDELINES OR OTHER SELECTION CRITERIA?
Projects must conform to the Portland Zoning Code, be in alignment with the Portland Main Street Design Handbook and be approved by the Division-Midway Design Committee. The Division-Midway Design Plan prioritizes projects that:
● Improve pedestrian safety and experience
● Increase visibility of business
● Increase green space
● Include a plan for ongoing maintenance
● Integrate sustainability (economic, environmental & social equity), i.e energy efficient lighting
● Utilize local vendors
● Reflect the diversity of the district
● Improve customer experience
HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?
1) Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an informational meeting with DMA
2) Applicants are required to schedule a one-on-one application assistance consultation with a designated Division-Midway staff member, board, Capital Improvement Committee member BEFORE submitting their application. The full application requires a detailed description of the project, architectural drawings if appropriate, color samples and cost estimates(Two bids are required).
3) The Capital Improvement Committee will review the applications and recommend projects to be moved forward for funding. Interested applicants may download the application here.
HOW IS THE MONEY AWARDED?
DMA has restructured how it financially administers its Storefront Improvement Grant Program. While business and/or property owners are still responsible for the management of storefront projects, DMA will submit maximum amount or 100% of the project costs (up to $10,000) per address/projects, to the contractor directly.
● Once the project is approved, the business/property owner will write a check to DMA for their portion of 25% of the total project cost.
● The contractor of choice submits a W-9 form and invoice for the proposed project to DMA.
● Work begun prior to receipt of a letter of commitment is not eligible for funding.
● Business/property owner will submit two high resolutions “After Photos” (JPEG or PDF preferred) of the completed project.
● Division-Midway will review the completed project to determine that the work performed was the work approved.
● An applicant that applies in this round may also re-apply for the next round a year after.
● Projects will be based on funding available and will be awarded on a first come/first served basis.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO MEET THE MATCH?
Division-Midway is committed to helping applicants meet the matching requirement for the grant. We will work with you and support your efforts to identify a source for the match.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A PROJECT IS SELECTED?
● Projects selected for a matching grant can begin once committee approval is received and the business or property owner submits payment for the agreed upon project percentage outlined in the project acceptance letter.
● Projects must be completed within one year from committee approval, unless extended by Division-Midway.
● The applicant is responsible for obtaining all building permits and any other required permits for the work to be done.
● The applicant is responsible for conformance with all applicable safety standards and conditions.
● The applicant also agrees to take on full maintenance of the project with the contractor of applicant’s choice.
● Division Midway Alliance does not have a contractual agreement with the vendor. The legal liability is between the grantee (business owner) and the contractor. Any dispute should be addressed by the grantee and the contractor.
● Division-Midway may promote an approved project including, but not limited to, displaying a Division-Midway sign at the site, during and after construction, and using photographs and descriptions of the project in Division-Midways’ materials.
DESIGN SERVICES OVERVIEW
The Division-Midway Capital Improvement Design Committee is available to provide basic design assistance and support to applicants. The Committee recommends that the applicant work with an architect or other design professional if they require significant design work and support.
Applicants are not required to use an architect for their personal property improvements. The architect does not dictate design direction; rather their role is to advise property owners on the design strategy for the district. If a property or business owner wishes to hire an architect for additional services they may do so independent of the services being provided through the Division-Midway Mini Grant Program.