Small Business Improvement Grant

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The Williamsburg Economic Development Authority offers a 50% matching grant up to $10,000 for interior and exterior improvements to existing businesses in the Williamsburg Tourism Zone. 

Overview

Williamsburg is excited to offer a new opportunity to encourage private investment in the Williamsburg Tourism Zone. To complement the tax benefits that are available to qualifying businesses within the tourism zone, the Economic Development Authority offers Small Business Improvement Grants within this area to encourage existing businesses and commercial property owners to invest in their properties through façade improvements, interior renovations, landscape enhancements, and other capital investments.

The Small Business Improvement Grant Program expires on June 30, 2018. To qualify for this program, an eligible business owner or property owner must apply on or before this date.

Purpose

The Williamsburg Economic Development Authority (EDA) Small Business Improvement Grant Program encourages existing business owners and commercial property owners within the Williamsburg Tourism Zone to make capital investments to enhance the vibrancy and character of this area of the City. The program encourages investment in existing commercial properties to improve the economic vitality of commercial areas from functional and aesthetic perspectives, with the ultimate goal of increasing customer traffic and business revenue.

The Small Business Improvement Grant Program will be administered by the Williamsburg EDA and will provide grants for exterior and interior improvements to commercial properties within the Williamsburg Tourism Zone.

Qualified Improvements

The following improvements are eligible to receive a Small Business Improvement Grant:

Exterior Improvements:

  • Design and construction costs associated with qualified improvements
  • Canopy or awning installation and/or repair, where appropriate
  • Repair or replacement of façade materials
  • Landscaping improvements
  • Hardscape improvements (benches, brick sidewalks, etc.)
  • Decorative fencing (chain-link fencing does not qualify)
  • Removal/replacement of architecturally inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes and materials
  • Repair or replacement of windows, doors and cornices
  • Exterior painting (when associated with a larger rehabilitation effort)

Interior Improvements:

  • Flooring
  • Lighting
  • Attached fixtures and/or installment of fixtures
  • Construction of new walls/demolition of unnecessary existing walls
  • Accessibility compliance
  • Mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing for build-out
  • HVAC, fire suppression, costs of improvements to bring property into compliance with government codes
  • Restrooms
  • Utility upgrades

Grant Details

A grant from the Williamsburg EDA is available for exterior and interior renovations for existing businesses located within the Williamsburg Tourism Zone. (See attached Map of the Williamsburg Tourism Zone.) The maximum grant award per business and property is the lesser of $10,000 or 50 percent of the costs of the qualified improvements. While the applicant may use whichever contractor he or she wishes, the project cost will be determined by the lower of two separate competitive arms-length demolition bids or estimates obtained by the applicant for each qualified project. However, for good cause shown the EDA may waive the requirement of two arms-length bids or estimates. Grants are made on a first-come, first-served basis, based on availability of program funds. Program funds are limited.

The Small Business Improvement Grant Program will expire on June 30, 2018. In order to qualify for this program, an eligible business owner or property owner must apply on or before this date.

Eligibility and Procedural Guidelines

  1. All fee simple owners of the property must sign the application.
  2. Application must include at least two cost estimates for the proposed improvements.
  3. Awarded funds will be disbursed to the applicant upon satisfactory completion of the qualified improvement project, approval by the City Planning and Codes Compliance Department and submission of all receipts for the work performed.
  4. Completion of the qualified improvement project must occur within six months of the EDA approval unless an extension is granted by the EDA for just cause.
  5. An individual property may qualify for this program only one time for a maximum grant amount of $10,000.
  6. Awards are not retroactive. The small business improvement grant must be approved before any qualified improvement activity begins.
  7. All applicable City regulations, including Architectural Review Board (ARB), must be followed and approvals must be obtained before the improvement work commences. If ARB approval is required, applicant must apply for ARB approval before submitting SBIG application to EDA.
  8. Prior to the distribution of any grant monies, all delinquent real property, personal property, sales, transient occupancy or meals taxes, BPOL, license fees, fines, utility charges, or any other amounts owed by the applicant and property owner to the City of Williamsburg must be paid in full.
  9. No principal, officer or manager employee of the applicant may be a principal, officer, manager employee or investor in the entity employed to perform the services to be funded in whole or in part by the grant.

Publicity and Acknowledgement

Applicants agree to public recognition for participating in the program. Applicants will allow the EDA to install a sign on the property identifying the project as being affiliated with the Williamsburg EDA Small Business Improvement Program.

Funding

The program may distribute monies appropriated to the EDA by City Council for such purpose.

Application Information

Contact the Williamsburg Economic Development Office at (757) 220-6104 or via email at eda@williamsburgva.gov for more information.