The city of Colorado Springs is looking for Southeast commercial building owners interested in investing in improvements along building façades and frontage spaces.

The Commercial Façade and Frontage Improvement Grant provides up to a 50 percent match in funds for building owners’ projects in the Southeast Economic Opportunity Zone. It’s a collaborative effort between the city and the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority, whose board will approve the projects.

“As a first year pilot program, the Commercial Façade and Frontage Improvement Grant’s goal is to encourage commercial building owners in the Southeast Economic Opportunity Zone to invest in improvements along building façades and frontage spaces to increase their utilization as community spaces and aid in attracting and retaining tenants to improve economic opportunities,” said Katie Sunderlin, the city’s neighborhood development outreach specialist, via email.

The city of Colorado Springs received $2,997,381 in Community Development Block Grant funds this year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; $100,000 of that is being utilized for the Commercial Façade and Frontage Improvement Grant.

Sunderlin said the city came up with grant after listening to community leaders develop ideas for making the area thrive.

“Sustainable transformation in our community begins, and is possible, when our citizens come together to change our future,” she said. “We heard the requests from our community for economic and community development and were able to create this grant opportunity to benefit our business owners and provide long term investment in the Southeast.”

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The city is targeting commercial properties that have high visibility as well as properties that will attract new tenants or retain their current ones.

“We’re hoping that this program will also encourage the development of public gathering spaces for the surrounding residents to utilize for community gathering,” Sunderlin said.

Program eligibility requirements include:

  • The applicant must be a property and/or business owner within the Southeast Economic Opportunity Zone and/or have written approval from the property owner.
  • The applicant property must also have a service area that is primarily residential and comprised of at least 51 percent low- to moderate-income residents.
  • If property owners with multiple storefronts choose to replace signage and awnings, the aesthetic must be consistent or cohesive for the entire facade.
  • Multiple storefronts on a single building may be eligible for multiple grants, with preference being given to replacing/renovating all storefronts on the building at the same time.
  • The applicant must not owe outstanding property taxes, fees, judgments, nor have any property liens.

Go to coloradosprings.gov/community-development under Neighborhood Improvement Programs for a program application and guidelines. Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. Sept. 14 to the Land Use Review Division office, 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 105, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 addressed to Katie Sunderlin, or via email to Sunderlin at sunderka@springsgov.com.

Businesses may receive less funding than requested depending on the number of applications and available funding.

“This program is a great opportunity for businesses in the Southeast to invest in their properties while helping to drive the local economy and create spaces for community connectedness,” Sunderlin said. “We’re looking forward to reviewing applications in September and are hopeful that this is a program with many years of longevity.”