The Facade Improvement Grant Application is closed

We anticipate that the program will re-open in 2024, pending Toledo City Council approval. Click below to receive updates and demonstrate your interest in the program.

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Facade Improvement Grant

Application Demo

Sandy Spang, Deputy Director of Economic Development, explains the application process for the Facade Improvement Grant. Have any additional questions? Contact Cody Brown at 419-245-1452 or

Notice of Funding Availability

The City of Toledo, Department of Economic Development (DED) hereby announces the availability of $320,000 (Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Dollars) in funding for the Facade Improvement Grant (FIG) program to incentivize property owners to comprehensively enhance the facade of commercial, industrial and mixed-use buildings.

The FIG program is part of the City’s Vibrancy Initiative, which is designed to enhance the city’s vitality by supporting revitalization efforts that will create jobs, reduce blight, and preserve and improve structures in our community. The Vibrancy Initiative also includes the White Box Grant Program. A Notice of Funding Availability for the White Box Grant can be found here. Eligible applicants may apply for both programs.

The FIG program reimburses 50% of eligible expenses incurred during a comprehensive facade improvement. A facade is defined as the principal face(s) of a building that is on a public street. The minimum reimbursement is $10,000 and the maximum is $40,000.

The grant is subject to a two-year period of compliance and reporting. The grant is collateralized by a restrictive covenant that prevents the sale of the property without approval from the City of Toledo until December 31, 2025.

The FIG application is open from April 3, 2023, to May 3, 2023. Applications will be reviewed and scored by the City’s Incentive Advisory Committee (IAC), using the Evaluation Criteria contained in this notice. The IAC consists of eight independent citizens that provide oversight of the City’s incentive programs. Upon completion of review, the IAC will recommend the top-scoring applications to the Mayor for funding until all funds have been awarded. The Mayor shall have the sole and absolute discretion to award funds.


Eligible projects shall comprehensively address the improvement of the building’s facade and construction must be complete, with final paid invoices submitted, by December 1, 2023.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants, whether an individual or organization, must meet the following criteria:

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

*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

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)

Eligible buildings must have no code violations. 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.

Ineligible Buildings

Buildings with an exclusively single-family residential or multi-family residential use or which contain the following businesses are ineligible:

  • Payday loan businesses
  • Liquor and tobacco stores
  • Pawn shops
  • Firearm or other weapons dealers
  • Adult entertainment
  • Franchise and chain businesses

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 principal face(s) of a building that is on a public street. Eligible projects include replacement, repair, or addition of at least two of the expenses below.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Building facing materials (such as brick, siding, or decorative features)
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Gutters and down spouts
  • Stairs
  • Ramps
  • Sidewalks on private property
  • 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 that complies with the City’s Outdoor Dining Guide and Encroachment Permit requirements
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessment recommendations for the building facade

Roofing expenses are non-reimbursable, but are eligible toward an applicant's match amount when accompanied by a comprehensive facade improvement, utilizing at least two of the expenses listed above to be eligible for the FIG.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Paving
  • Landscaping
  • Fencing (except for those on a permanent patio or deck)

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

Application Process and Timeline

2023 Schedule

Public Notice
Notice of Funding Availability issued through a City media advisory and published in The Blade, The Sojourner’s Truth, and La Prensa.
Monday, April 3, 2023
A Zoom webinar will be held to educate potential applicants about the guidelines and application process. A recording of the webinar can be found here.
Thursday, April 6, 2023 at 4:00 PM EST
Application Submission Deadline
Completed applications are due in ZoomGrants.
Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST
Awarded Projects Announced
Applicants will be informed of the decision on their application.
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Grant Agreement Deadline
Grant agreements must be signed, or the award will be forfeited and the next highest scoring application will be awarded funding.
Friday, June 16, 2023
Project Construction Phase
Construction commencement occurs once the grant agreement is executed and proper permits have been received.
Monday, June 17, 2023 to Thursday, November 30, 2023
Project Completion Deadline
Projects must be complete, with final paid invoices and a copy of the certificate of occupancy submitted to DED.
Friday, December 1, 2023

General Instructions

Applications must be submitted online via the Zoom Grants platform. No paper or emailed applications will be accepted. Required documentation upon submission includes:

  • Applicant’s W-9 (form provided)
  • Business Tax Registration Form (form provided)
  • Vendor Registration Form (form provided)
  • Copy of Commercial Building Insurance Policy
  • Funding Sources, which may be demonstrated by commitment letters from lenders or proof of funds from a financial institution
  • Current interior and exterior photos of the subject vacant commercial first floor space
  • Entity Operating Agreement (if applicable)
  • Entity board resolution authorizing authority to enter into agreements (if applicable)
  • Architectural and engineering drawings, renderings, elevations (if available)
  • Occupancy plan, which must be one of the following:
    • A marketing plan that demonstrates the intention to actively market the renovated space for commercial or industrial use and the proposed rental rate.
    • A letter of intent from a business to occupy the space that identifies the agreed upon rental rate and term.
    • A statement of self-occupancy by the building owner, including the name of the business. Occupying businesses must be registered with the City of Toledo.
  • A minimum of two quotes is required for all work included in the project.
    • Eligible expenses must be clearly identified and highlighted on the quotes provided. Quotes must conform to prevailing wage, be on contractor letterhead, and clearly identify the cost and full scope of work, with each activity itemized. 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). If the individual or any member of the entity owning the property self performs a portion of the work, reimbursement will be for materials only. All self-performed work should be clearly identified on quotes.

The DED, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to modify the above dates; suspend, amend, or modify the provisions of this NOFA, to waive selected requirements or limitations herein, to reject all proposals, to negotiate modifications of proposal, or to award less than the full amount of the funding available; all in its sole and absolute discretion.

Selection Process & Evaluation Criteria

Upon closure of the FIG application, the DED will conduct an initial screening of applications to determine if all submission requirements are met. Any incomplete applications will be rejected. Members of the IAC will review, evaluate and score each eligible application based on the evaluation criteria below. In all evaluation criteria, zero or one represents the lowest score and five represents the highest. Based on an application’s score, the IAC will then recommend the highest scoring applications to the Mayor who may fund the award in his sole and absolute discretion.

CriteriaScoringWeightMax Score

Transformational Facade Improvement

The proposed improvements to the building’s facade are comprehensive in nature and will have a significant impact on the aesthetics of the building.

1-5 x3 15

Historic Preservation

The subject property is a building constructed prior to 1970 or has historical or design significance. Projects will be scored as follows: Zero (0): building was built post 1971; One (1): building was built prior to 1970; Two (2): building was built prior to 1950; Three (3): building was built prior to 1930; Four (4): building was built prior to 1910, Five (5): building was built prior to 1900.

0-5 x3 15

Project Readiness

Applicant provided sufficient and compelling information that demonstrates their ability to complete the project and submit paid invoices by the deadline of December 1, 2023.

1-5 x2


Diverse Property Ownership

A score of five (5) will be awarded to projects in which the majority property ownership is held by a certified MBE/WBE/DBE/VBE/EDGE.

0/5 x1


Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA)

A score of five (5) will be awarded to projects located in a City designated NRSA.

0/5 x1 5


Post Award Process

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. In addition to the FIG Agreement, the applicant will be required to execute a restrictive covenant on the property, which will be recorded. The restrictive covenant prevents the property owner from selling the property without approval from the City of Toledo until December 31, 2025.

All FIG Agreements must be signed by Friday, June 16, 2023 or the award will be forfeited and the next highest scoring application will be awarded funding. Any work performed prior to execution of the FIG Agreement is not eligible for reimbursement.

Project Completion and Reimbursement

An applicant’s project includes all work outlined within an application, including non-eligible expenses and expenses that will not be reimbursed by the FIG. To qualify for reimbursement, the entire project must be completed with paid final invoices by December 1, 2023.

To qualify for reimbursement, the project must be complete with paid invoices submitted by Friday, December 1, 2023. When requesting reimbursement, the applicant must submit copies of all paid invoices, matching proof of payment by a cancelled check, copies of permits and inspections, and a photo of the building’s completed facade. The Department will review the information for accuracy and completeness and process the reimbursement payment, which will be disbursed by check.

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