/windom: facade improvement - business matching grant program



The Windom Community Council (WCC) is pleased to announce the availability of Façade Improve Matching Grants to Windom commercial properties and businesses.


Grant Guidelines

Who can apply for a matching grant?


Building owners and commercial tenants (with property owner’s approval) can apply for a Windom Business Façade Grant if:

  1. they are located within the Windom neighborhood, AND

  2. they are not eligible for a Great Streets grant from the City of Minneapolis, AND

  3. the façade improvements are for a commercial business or commercial building, meaning it has a retail or office use.


For-profit and not-for-profit entities are eligible to apply, as long as the grant is used for a commercial building. Most commercial uses are retail and office; however, other uses may qualify, such as day care centers. Mixed-use buildings are eligible for the commercial portion for the building.


A property owner who leases a commercial building to a religious use is eligible to apply for façade improvements if the improvements do not promote the religious use and would remain in place regardless of changes in the tenant (i.e. tuckpointing, windows, lighting). Signs, stained glass windows, and murals are examples of façade improvements that would normally be eligible, but would be ineligible when they promote a religious use.


How much are the matching grants?

One matching grant can be up to $2,000 per storefront. Building owners are limited to a maximum of $2,000 in grants per building. Building is defined as Hennepin County street / avenue tax address.


All grants must be matched 1:1 where every grant dollar is matched by one dollar. Matching dollars can come from any source, such as private equity and loans. This is a reimbursement program. You must complete and pay for the total project cost or total private match, prior to receiving a reimbursement check from you WCC.


What will the matching grant dollars pay for?

Windom Business Façade Grants can pay for many exterior, façade improvements. The work must be visible from a public street, not only an alley. Ask your program administrator for a copy of the Great Streets Façade Design Guide. The guide shows specific façade improvements that are encouraged and discouraged. Discouraged activities are not eligible for matching grants.


The following are eligible improvements for façade matching grants:

  • Exterior painting and re-siding

  • Restoration of exterior finishes and materials

  • Masonry repairs and tuck pointing

  • Removal of architecturally inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes and materials

  • Restoration of architectural details or removal of materials that cover architectural details

  • Repair or replacement of windows and doors (if replacement, windows and doors must be architecturally appropriate)

  • Window and cornice flashing and repair

  • Canopy or awning installation or repair

  • Installation or repair of exterior signage

  • Removal of barriers to access the building from outside for people with disabilities

  • Exterior lighting

  • Contracted labor related to any of the above improvements, including design work for improvements that are completed

  • Wall, window, hanging, and monument signs advertising the business name and identity

  • Living wall or “green façade”

  • Permanent landscaping

  • Bike racks


The City of Minneapolis requires permits for most of the eligible improvements listed here. It is critical that business and building owners work with City Zoning staff on designs and obtain all necessary permits before beginning work. If you have any questions about permits and permit fees, please visit Minneapolis Development Review, call 612-673-3000, or visit the Public Service Center at 250 South 4th Street, Room 300 (downtown Minneapolis).


What will the matching grant dollars NOT pay for?

The following activities are not eligible for matching grants:

  • Improvements in progress or completed prior to preliminary approval

  • Routine maintenance that is not part of an eligible façade improvement project

  • Billboards

  • Roofing

  • Mechanicals and HVAC systems

  • Interior work

  • New construction

  • Pylon, temporary, or roof signs

  • Interior window displays

  • Security systems (including metal roll down gates, window bars, cameras)

  • Trash and mechanical enclosures

  • Fencing

  • Landscaping

  • Parking areas

  • Bike parking

  • Improvements to non-commercial buildings

  • Improvement to a building interior, rear, or side not visible from the main street

  • Discouraged activities as listed in the Façade Design Guide

  • Any other improvement not deemed eligible on the above list


The City has small business loan programs with favorable interest rates to assist with many building interior and system improvements that are not eligible for façade matching grants. Visit the City website (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/business_finance_home.asp) or contact Judy Moses at 612-673-5283 or judy.moses@minneapolismn.gov for more information.


How do I receive a grant?

Step 1: Be sure you meet program requirements.

  • The property is located in an eligible area with an active façade contract.

  • The property is up-to-date on all property taxes.

  • All construction management is your responsibility.

  • This is a reimbursement program; you must complete and pay for the private match for the work before WCC will issue a reimbursement check. See step 6 for further information.


Step 2: Set-up a meeting with the program administrator to discuss your project and review the Great Streets Façade Design Guide.


Step 3: Optional: Set-up a meeting with Crime Prevention Specialist Jennifer Waisanen (Jennifer.Waisanen@minneapolismn.gov and 612-673-5407) for a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) review.


Step 4: Submit the following to WCC program administrator for Design Review and Recommendations:

  • A written description of the project, including drawings, before photographs of the building, and other supporting materials that accurately represent scope and intent of project improvements.

  • Evidence you have the matching dollars available.

  • A contractor’s bids that meet the following guidelines.

    • If qualified to do so, you may perform the work yourself; however, grant funds can only be used to compensate for materials, not for labor or the purchase or rental of tools and equipment. Sweat equity labor includes that of a friend, relative, or anyone with a financial interest in the business or property.

    • Evidence that contractors are licensed, bonded, and/or insured.

    • Applicants are encouraged to solicit estimates from women and minority contractors.


Step 5: Upon approval, WCC will forward you a copy of the Application and Participation Agreement.


Step 6: Sign and return the Business Application and Participation Agreement.

The signature of the business owner / authorized representative and, if the storefront is now owned by the business, the signature of the building owner / authorized representative are required. The Participation Agreement authorizes you to proceed with the project. Before you begin, be sure to obtain all the necessary permits for the project. Permit and taxes paid verification is required prior to any grant disbursements. 


Step 7: Complete the project and submit documentation to your program administrator within

nine (9) months of the date on the signed Participation Agreement. The grant funds will be disbursed to you by WCC after WCC has received ALL of the following items.

  1. Before and After Photographs highlighting the improvement project from the same vantage point.

  2. Proof of final inspection by the City of Minneapolis Inspections Department for work requiring a City permit (a copy of the permit signed off by the responsible City Inspector).

  3. Final invoice from the contractor showing the total project cost.

  4. Proof of payment paid to contractor in one of the following two forms. You should be totally satisfied with the work before paying.

  • A lien waiver is a statement issued by the contractor that advises the client that they, the contractor, (a) have been paid in full for the total project cost, (b) are satisfied with the compensation for the work they performed, and (c) waive their right to place any liens on the property for the work completed. (If there are significant material costs, we advise you to obtain a lien waiver from the materials supplier, advising that the contractor paid them in full.) OR

  • If you only paid the matching funds (private match) portion of the contract and the contractor will wait for the final payment you can submit a cancelled check AND a signed receipt. You will need a copy of the actual cancelled check(s), returned to you by the bank you used to pay the contractor. Both the front and back of the check must be copied and must be made payable to the contractor for a minimum of the private match. You will also need a properly executed receipt, signed by an authorized officer of the contracting firm that includes the contractor’s name, address, telephone number, and notation that a minimum of the private match was paid in full.

Loan Administrator

The Windom Community Council (WCC) has contracted the services of Roger Worm to administer this loan.  To apply, please contact him via phone or email.

Roger Worm                                           Windom Community Council

P.O. Box 8932                                        windomcommunity@gmail.com

Minneapolis, MN 55408



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Our Vision: The Windom Community seeks to be recognized, locally and beyond, as an attractive, supportive and involved neighborhood that takes pride in its cultural diversity and rich history. We are a community of people who strive to provide a safe, clean, educational and prosperous haven for all our residents and businesses.