Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, April 17, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

This meeting focused on presenting the Storefront Renovation REBATE Program (SRRPP).  The goals of this program are as follows:

1.  Improve the appearance of the commercial districts.

2.  Support property and business owners’ efforts to improve building exteriors.

3.  Contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of Shaker Heights.

Background:  Between 2016 and 2018, Cuyahoga County subsidized, with assistance from Citizens Bank and private contributions, the Lee Road Storefront Renovation.  During the 2016 -2017 year there were 8 projects that received $192.000 for signage and facade refresh projects.  Examples include, Shaker Cigar (façade refresh), Discount Cleaners (new signage) and Shaker Heights Animal Hospital (façade refresh). 

The City intends to build on this initiative with the intention to only use funds from the City’s general fund.  This eliminates requirements that existed with the County’s program.  Namely, there will be no deadline to spend the money as there was with the County program which required projects to be completed within the two year window of 2016 – 2018.

Program:  The program has two options for participation:

1.  Signage Only (Business Owners Only):  Independently owned, non-franchise businesses may apply for a signage only matching signage only rebate of up to $3,000.  Signage only includes items that bear company marks such as signage, awnings, and window/door graphics.  The intent of the signage-only program is three-fold:  1. Incentivize new businesses to open here; 2.  Attract, retain and support locally-owned businesses; and 3. Encourage better quality signage in our commercial districts.

2.  Full Façade (Building or Business Owners may apply):   to improve an existing building’s exterior curb appeal in a comprehensive, transformative manner including new/restored front doors and windows, tuck pointing, painting, signage (independent businesses only), awnings, outdoor cafes (visible from the street) and front façade landscaping.  Parking lot resurfacing and roof repairs/replacement are not eligible.  The entire façade must be assessed and included in the design scheme to produce a transformational project.  The sides of buildings may be included  on a case by case basis.  The maximum 50% matching full façade rebate is $15,000.  *If the project exceeds this limit then the business should seek additional financing.

ELIGIBILTIY:

1.  The commercial zoned property is located in one of the following areas:  Lee Rd. (Van Aken to Scottsdale), Shaker Commons/South Side of Chagrin (Avalon to Hildana), Larchmere Blvd., District South (Juma to Lucy’s), Bloc at Almar (Pistone’s to Fussy) and Fairmount Circle (Shaker addresses only).

2.  Apartment buildings without first floor commercial space(s) and home based businesses are not eligible.

3.  Property owner must confirm full support of the project if the business (tenant) is the applicant.

4.  Property taxes must be current in that the prior tax year is paid in full.

5.  The applicant must be able to pay for 100% of the project cost up front, as these programs are structured as a rebate once the project in complete.

REQUIREMENTS:

1.  Payroll taxes for the business must be reported to RITA. 

2.  If the business tenant is a start-up, a business plan and projected financials must be submitted to Economic Development.

3.  If business signage is included in a a full facade project, the cost of the sign can only be included if the business is not a franchise or national chain. 

4.  If there are exterior Building Code violations at the time of application, a written plan with timeline to complete the work must be established to remedy the violations if the project scope is not addressing the violations.  The rebate will not be issued until the violations are corrected.  *This is important to note, the rebate program can be used to correct Building Code violations.

PROJECT SCOPE-PERTINENT POINTS:

1.  The final project scope and design will be reviewed and approved with the support of a Design Specialist assigned and paid for by the City before contractor bids can be solicited.

2.  All contractors MUST be licensed to work in the City and secure all necessary building permits.  If any work is completed without the proper permits, the project will no longer be eligible for a rebate.

Eileen Anderson, League observer

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