top of page

Great Streets: Facade Improvement Matching Program

My project copy-2.png

Description & Eligibility

Application Start Date: June 22, 2023

Application Deadline: Open as funds are available.

Grant Size: All grants must be matched.

Eligible area – 1:2 public to private match, maximum grant amount $5,000.

Priority area - 1:1 public to private match, maximum grant amount $7,500.

Cultural District area - 1:0.5 public to private match, maximum grant amount $10,000.

In areas with a 1:2 match, every grant dollar must be matched by two dollars. In areas with a 1:1

match, every grant dollar must be matched by one dollar. In areas with a 1:0.5 match, every grant

dollar must be matched by fifty cents.


Matching dollars can come from any non-Great Streets source. Examples include private equity, NRP funds, 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 the program administrator.



The City of Minneapolis recognizes that healthy neighborhood business districts play an important role in the vitality of Minneapolis and understands that there are many challenges that neighborhood businesses can face. The Great Streets program aims to help revitalize and sustain neighborhood business districts. One component of the Great Streets program is the Façade Improvement Matching Grant, designed to help create healthy commercial areas by providing incentives to improve the appearance of building façades and stimulate private investment.



Building owners and commercial tenants (with the property owner’s approval) can apply for a Great Streets Façade grant if:

1. They are located within an eligible business district AND

2. The façade improvements are for a commercial business or commercial building.


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 daycare centers. Mixed-use buildings are eligible for the commercial portion of the building.

A property owner who leases a commercial building for religious use is eligible to apply for a grant if the improvements do not promote 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.


Eligible Improvements

  • Exterior painting, re-siding, or professional cleaning

  • 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

  • Murals

  • 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

  • projects that are completed

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

  • Living wall or “green façade”

  • Multiple improvement projects, not to exceed the maximum grant amount per business or storefront


Ineligible Improvements

  • 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, and 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

  • Backlit awnings (see pages 12-13 and 16-17 of the Design Guide)

  • Any other improvement not deemed eligible on the above list


Application Process

Step 1: Be sure you meet program requirements.

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

  • The property is current on all property tax payments.

  • All construction management is your responsibility.

  • This is a reimbursement program; you must complete and pay for the private match for the work before the

program administrator will issue a reimbursement check. See step 6 for further information.


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

Step 3: Submit the Great Streets Business Application and Participation Agreement to the

program administrator, including:

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

b. Two (2) contractors’ bids that meet the following guidelines.

i. Both bids must be for identical scopes of work.

ii. 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.

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

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

v. Projects totaling less than $5,000 and murals only need to submit one bid.

vi. Grant amounts are based on the lower bid; however, you are free to accept the higher bid.


c. All applications are reviewed and approved by a committee, the makeup of which varies. This step is different for each organization administering the program

Step 4: Receive a signed copy of the Business Application and Participation Agreement from the program administrator after the project has been approved.


The Participation Agreement authorizes you to proceed with the project. Before you begin, be sure to obtain all the necessary City permits for the project or ensure your contractor pulled the necessary permits. Permit and taxes paid verification is required prior to grant disbursements.

Step 5: Complete the project and submit documentation to the program administrator within nine (9) months of the date on the signed Participation Agreement. The grant funds will be disbursed to you or to your contractor(s) by the program administrator after they have received ALL FOUR (4) of the following items (if more than one contractor is used, you must submit all four items for each contractor:

a. 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


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

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

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

i. A lien waiver - 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.) 


i. A cancelled check AND a signed receipt - if you only paid the matching funds (private match) portion of the contract and the contractor will wait for the final payment. 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.

bottom of page