Commercial Facade Improvement Grant Program

Information and Eligibility Guidelines

Learn more about the Downtown Columbia Commercial Historic District Commercial Façade Improvement Grant Program, Round 3 that takes place October 2021-March 2022. 

Eligible Applicants: Buildings must be located within the Downtown Columbia Commercial Historic District. Tenants are eligible for grant funds by including a letter of approval for proposed improvements from building owner with the application. Past grantees from round 1 and 2 can apply for grant funds but priority will be given to new applicants.

Potential Grant Applicants that have gone before the Columbia Historic Zoning Commission and have received a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for their proposed project but have not started construction; are encouraged to apply for this program. If you fall into this category please provide a copy of the COA in your application package.

Eligible Improvements: This grant only applies to work done on the front facade of the building. Building sides excluding rear sides that sit on and face a street are eligible. No more than 50% of the improvements to the back or side of the building visible from the street. 

PLEASE NOTE: All work in Round 3 will need to be completed by March 15, 2022. No extensions will be given.

Examples of eligible improvements for Facade Grant funding:

  • Repainting of a facade if already painted; we do not encourage painting historic brick that hasn't been previously painted.
  • Awnings (New or Replacement)
  • Removal of vinyl or aluminum siding
  • Brick Repairs (Tuck-Pointing mortar)
  • Windows & Doors (Within the historic design guidelines)
  • Safety improvements
  • Sign and exterior lighting on the building
  • Improving visible back and side entrances

Examples of unapproved improvements:

  • Do not harm the building; respect the historic character of the building and the district
  • No roof repairs
  • No sidewalks or parking spaces
  • No interior improvements
  • No murals

Important Information & Dates

A Facade Grant Orientation for Round 3 will be held on October 4, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom to discuss the grant and application process. The grant administrator, Sarah Elizabeth McLeod of the South Central Tennessee Development District, will be conducting the orientation and be able to answer questions. (Zoom Meeting ID: 846 0721 5768 / Passcode: 756835)

All documentation is required to be submitted by October 29, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. to Sarah Elizabeth McLeod via email When submitting in the subject line of the email please have Columbia Façade Grant Round 3-(Address of Building).

Applications will then be reviewed and scored by the Selection Committee. Notification of Award will occur the week of November 3,2021 via email. Please make sure to have an updated email on your application.

Applications that have to go before the Historic Zoning Commission will have to turn in a Historic Zoning Commission Packet by November 15, 2021 to Development Services. Then the Historic Zoning Commission will review your application on December 9, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. You will need to plan to attend this meeting in case the Historic Zoning Commission has specific questions about your project.

If you receive a Notification of Award and have already been approved by the Historic Zoning Commission and haven’t started work then you can proceed with your project after the Pre-Construction Meeting. Sarah Elizabeth McLeod will conduct a one-on-one Pre-Construction Meeting. 

Pre-Construction Meeting for those that had to go before the Historic Zoning Commission will be held December 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. (Zoom Meeting ID: 860 0955 3558 / Passcode: 907380) 

No work is to begin until after the Pre-Construction Meeting and after approval by the Historic Zoning Commission. Any work started prior to the award notification will not be eligible for this grant.