City of Jacksonville Press Release
According to a recent press release, the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) is allocating $950,000 to support renovations of street-facing facades on old downtown buildings. The new DIA Storefront Facade Grant program will provide grant funding for the improvement of storefronts, and, if applicable, second story facades in the Downtown Jacksonville Historic District — located in the Northbank CRA — to activate the streetscape and the overall revitalization of Downtown Jacksonville.
Add to the National Register of Historic Places in May 2016, the Downtown Jacksonville Historic District encompasses approximately 56 blocks. The boundaries of the 156-acre district are East and West Beaver Street on the north, Catherine Street and North Liberty Street on the east, Independent Drive and the St. Johns River on the south, and North Pearl Street on the west. Overall, it includes 176 contributing buildings, one contributing site, two contributing objects and 19 buildings previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Downtown Jacksonville Historic District map
Unlike the DIA’s Retail Enhancement Grant program, which is focused on the operating business and interior and exterior improvements required for such business operations, the Storefront Facade Grant program is focused on physical improvements to the exterior of buildings.
The incentives take the form of a five-year, interest-free, forgivable loan. Applicants may receive funding at a maximum amount of $30 per square foot of eligible building facade. The grant is capped at 50% of eligible costs, with a maximum grant award of $75,000 per applicant. Eligible buildings must be at least 50 years old but need not be designated historic landmarks. Recipients of a Storefront Facade Grant must obtain all required authorizations from the Downtown Design Review Board, the Planning and Development Department, and any other necessary department or agency prior to commencing construction.
“We are determined to improve the appearance of our Historic District in Downtown,” says DIA CEO Lori Boyer. “This program helps building owners renovate deteriorating windows, doors, siding and the like without requiring historic designation which has been a deterrent for some. We are hopeful this added incentive will be what it takes to encourage owners to invest in exterior improvements that not only increase their building value, but also enhance walkability and overall Downtown values.”
Interested parties are encouraged to visit the DIA website for complete program information via https://dia.coj.net/Facade-Grant-Program or by contacting Steve Kelley, DIA Director of Downtown Real Estate and Development at DIAPrograms@coj.net.
About the Downtown Investment Authority
The Downtown Investment Authority was established by the City of Jacksonville to revitalize Jacksonville’s urban core by utilizing Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) resources and is guided by a nine-member board of directors. The DIA seeks to attract investment, facilitate job creation and increase residential density through capital investments, planning, advocacy, marketing and the establishment of policy. For more information, visit https://dia.coj.net/.