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Commercial Revitalization Grants

Growing Milwaukee Building Partnerships

The Commercial Revitalization Fund provides grant funding to businesses who are activating vacant storefronts and commercial property owners interested in renovating their buildings.  The program was established by the Department of City Development (DCD) to improve and enhance the physical appearance of commercial buildings in the City's Commercial Corridors.  The fund offers four different programs to assist businesses and property owners to invest in commercial storefronts in the City of Milwaukee.  See below for program categories and eligible activities.

For more information or if you have trouble downloading an application, please contact the Commercial Revitalization Fund at (414) 286-8201 or email [email protected]

All grant eligible work needs to be approved before any work begins, please contact us for further guidance on your application and project timeline.

Questions and Answers to all questions received as part of the Vibrant Spaces Grant application process can be found here.

Signage Grant Program

The City's Signage Grant program provides financial and business assistance to business owners interested in creating well designed signage or updating their signage to current design standards. The program was established by DCD to increase the physical appearance of Milwaukee’s commercial areas. This incentive will offer reimbursable grant funds up to $5,000. The grant may not exceed 50% of the total eligible project costs.

More information on signage regulations here and signage permits here. This grant funding cannot be used for Type B signs as described in the signage regulations.

Facade Grant Program     

The City's Façade Grant program provides financial and business assistance to businesses and commercial property owners interested in renovating the street facing facades of their building. The program was established by DCD to increase the physical appearance of Milwaukee’s commercial areas. This incentive will offer reimbursable grant funds up to $10,000. The grant may not exceed 50% of the total eligible project costs.

Storefront Activation Grant Program

The Storefront Activation Grant is designed to provide targeted financial incentives to increase the vitality of the neighborhood commercial corridors. The funds will assist in recruiting new businesses to vacant commercial/retail tenant spaces in commercial buildings.

The Storefront Activation Grant will make available a new business development incentive to commercial building owners and developers. This incentive will offer reimbursable grant funds up to $20 per square foot with a maximum grant in the amount of $50,000. The grant may not exceed 50% of the total eligible project costs.

The Storefront Activation Grant cannot be combined with the Retail Investment Fund.

Retail Investment Fund (RIF) Program

The Retail Investment Fund (RIF) is limited to funding retail development projects, located in neighborhood business districts. These businesses cannot be home-based.

The size of a RIF grant is determined by the size of the project, private investment, and job creation. The grant amount is calculated as the lesser of $5,000 per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) job created or 40% of eligible costs. In either case, the maximum grant allowed through the RIF program is $75,000. A start-up business will be considered to create at least one full-time equivalent or FTE job (the entrepreneur) as well as any additional jobs. The expansion of an existing business shall be fundable only if additional jobs, beyond those in existence at the time of application, are created by the grantee.

The RIF program is a reimbursement program. The grantee will be reimbursed for eligible pre-approved grant related expenses. Grant funds cannot be disbursed until all conditions of the grant contract have been fulfilled, including job creation.

The Retail Investment Fund cannot be combined with the Storefront Activation Grant.

2024 Commercial Revitalization Grant Review Schedule

A completed application must be received before the deadline below for a decision on the grant to be provided in that month.

  • January 11, 2024
  • February 8, 2024
  • March 14, 2024
  • April 11, 2024
  • May 9, 2024
  • June 13, 2024
  • July 11, 2024
  • August 8, 2024
  • September 12, 2024
  • October 10, 2024
  • November 7, 2024
  • December 5, 2024

 

Complete the Commercial Revitalization Application Online

Commercial Revitalization Fund Application PDF

Aplicación de Becas para la Revitalización Comercial PDF

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