Funds are Available to Help Give your Building a New Look

Posted Jan 6th, 2020 in Feat of the Week

The New Year is a great time for new beginnings and new looks. This applies to buildings as well as people, especially if the exterior of the building is the first impression people get of the business inside. Downtown Wilmington has hundreds of shops and businesses that attract customers from near and far so now the holiday decorations are coming down, curb appeal is more important than ever.

Older buildings are prone to wear and tear over time and even newer buildings can suffer damage from exposure to the elements. If you own a business downtown and are considering façade renovations, you should inquire about the grant funds available through the Municipal Service District (MSD) to help defray the costs.

The Façade Improvement Program was established in 2017 to help business property owners make enhancements to buildings in the MSD. Since then, eight downtown properties have benefited from grant funding for façade restoration including the former Washington’s Barbershop on North 4th Street, the Wells Insurance building, The Husk, Shuckin’ Shack and Stalk and Vine.

Awards are available on a matching basis to cover up to 50 percent of the cost to renovate a building façade. The maximum available is $2,500 for a property. Corner properties may be eligible for up to $5,000 for work on two, street-facing sides of the building. Grant funds are allocated by the MSD each year on July 1 and are available on a first-come, first-served basis until all the funds have been awarded.

Applications are encouraged from any property or business owner within the MSD. Certain restrictions apply and applicants with buildings inside the local historic district must seek approval from the Historic Preservation Commission before applying. Follow this link for more information and, if eligible, complete the application:

In addition to façade improvement grants, funds are available for landscaping to improve parking lots and other spaces. These grants are great for screening off unattractive areas or for beautifying lots by landscaping with trees, shrubs or flowers.  Landscape Improvement Grants are available on a matching basis to cover up to 50 percent of the project cost with a maximum of $1,500. For corner properties, projects may be eligible for up to $3,000. If you are interested and your property meets the requirements, you can apply here:

Brochures and application forms are also available at the Wilmington Downtown Inc. office at 221 N. Front Street. If you wish to discuss your project before applying, please contact staff at (910) 763-7349. If you notice a property that could use a facelift, please let us know and we will reach out to the owner.

Mentioned in this post:

The Husk
31 S Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401

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Shuckin' Shack
127 N Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401

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Wells Insurance - Harold W. Wells & Son, Inc.
1 N 3rd St
Wilmington, NC 28401

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