The Facade Improvement Grant (FIG) program helps property owners transform the facade of commercial, industrial, and mixed-use buildings located in low-to-moderate income census tracts by providing a 50% matching grant to reimburse expenses incurred during a comprehensive facade improvement. The minimum grant amount is $10,000 and the maximum grant amount is $40,000.

The FIG program is funded by Federal Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) dollars. Therefore, grant funds are subject to federal requirements. The program is subject to a two-year period of compliance, reporting, and annual inspection by the City of Toledo. The grant is collateralized by a promissory note that is secured by a mortgage on the property for two years. Applications will be processed in the order they are received and grants will be awarded as funding is available.

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Eligibility

Eligible Applicants:

Eligible applicants, whether individual or entity, meet the following criteria:

  • *Applicant owns the building for which they are applying
  • Applicant is in good standing with governmental entities (i.e. current on income tax, property tax, utilities, code violations, fees).

*If the applicant does not own the building for which they are applying but does have the building under contract, the applicant is eligible to apply for the grant. However, grants will not be awarded until the applicant owns the building for which they are applying.

Eligible Buildings

Eligible buildings must:


A building's eligibility is determined by use, not zoning.

Eligible buildings include:

  • Commercial use (non-residential)
  • Industrial use
  • Mixed-use (integrated commercial and residential uses)

A building is ineligible to receive the grant if it contains businesses in the following industries:

  • Payday loan businesses
  • Liquor and tobacco stores
  • Pawn shops
  • Firearm or other weapons dealers
  • Adult entertainment
  • Passive real estate investments

Buildings with vacancies are required to provide a marketing plan that demonstrates their intention to actively market the property for commercial, industrial, or mixed-uses, a letter of intent from a business to occupy the space, or a statement of self-occupancy by the building owner. Buildings with an exclusively single-family residential or multi-family residential use are not eligible. A building may not receive more than one Facade Improvement Grant in its lifetime.

Eligible Expenses

The Facade Improvement Grant provides funding for a comprehensive enhancement to a building's facade. A facade is defined as the side of a building that faces a public street and contains a customer or primary entrance. Eligible projects include replacement, repair, or addition of at least two of the expenses below.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Building facing materials
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Gutters and down spouts
  • Stairs
  • Ramps
  • Sidewalks
  • Permanent deck
  • Permanent patio
  • Exterior lighting (including lighting directed on the building, but not attached to it)
  • Exterior painting
  • Awnings
  • Canopies
  • Non-commercial artist mural approved by The Arts Commission
  • Walk-up service window
  • Permanent patio or deck
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment recommendations for the building facade.
  • Roofing expenses are eligible, but non-reimbursable expenses, which are applicable toward an applicant's match amount and must be accompanied by at least two of the expenses listed above to be eligible for the FIG.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Paving
  • Landscaping
  • Fencing
  • Sidewalks located on public property

All enhancements must be located on private property and comply with zoning and building codes to be eligible for the Facade Improvement Grant. Any eligible expense incurred prior to the execution of the Facade Improvement Grant Agreement, or work performed without required permits, is ineligible.

A minimum of three quotes is required for each eligible expense, listed as a separate line item. Quotes must confirm adherence to Davis Bacon requirements, be on contractor letterhead, have individual line items for each eligible expense, and clearly identify the scope of work and estimated cost. Contractors shall have required licensing, bond, and insurance, and all work shall be performed according to applicable codes (i.e. Ohio Revised Code and Toledo Municipal Code).

Projects shall be completed within 12 months of the Effective Date of the Facade Improvement Grant Agreement.

Application Process and Timeline

Application Submission

Submit an application and supporting documentation to the Department of Economic Development using ZoomGrants. Failure to submit a complete application and required documentation will delay the review and approval process.

Required documentation includes:

  • Proof of Insurance
  • W-9
  • Commitment letters for funding sources
  • Quotes (three quotes from a qualified contractor for every item on the expenses table)
  • Current photo of the building’s facade
  • Drawings, renderings, elevations (if available)
  • Marketing brochure/plan or a letter of intent to occupy (required for buildings with vacancies)

Application Review

The Department of Economic Development will review the application and supporting documentation to determine eligibility. Eligible applications will be reviewed by the Toledo Plan Commission to ensure appropriate approvals have been obtained prior to the application being approved. If applicable, the Department of Neighborhoods will conduct a historical and environmental review in accordance with CDBG guidelines.

Application Approval

The application will be presented to the City’s Incentive Advisory Committee (“IAC”) for review. The IAC consists of eight independent citizens that provide oversight of the City’s incentive programs. The IAC will provide a formal recommendation to the Mayor on how to proceed with the application.

Facade Improvement Grant Agreement

If the application is approved, the City will enter into a Facade Improvement Grant Agreement with the applicant to establish the terms and conditions in which eligible work can be reimbursed. Any work performed prior to execution of the Facade Improvement Grant Agreement is not eligible for reimbursement. In addition to the FIG Agreement, the applicant will be required to grant a mortgage and cognovit note to the City of Toledo on the real property in which the facade work will be performed. The mortgage will have a term of two years and will restrict the property owner from selling the property without approval from the City of Toledo during that time period.

Project Completion and Reimbursement

The project is defined as eligible work to be performed to the facade. To qualify for reimbursement, the project must be complete within twelve months of the effective date of the Facade Improvement Grant Agreement. When requesting reimbursement, the applicant must submit copies of all invoices, matching proof of payment by a cancelled check, and copies of permits and inspections. The Department will review the information for accuracy and completeness and process the reimbursement payment, which will be disbursed by check.

Applicants have the option to submit for a total of two requests for reimbursement. As part of the final request for reimbursement, applicants will need to provide a photo of the building’s completed facade. Grant recipients may be required to complete an informational survey both prior to and after funding. The City will release the mortgage and cognovit note two years after the effective date.