Downtown Grant Program

Downtown Retail and Professional Services Grant

Downtown Durham business owners interested in capital improvement funds to start or improve their business locations should take note of an upcoming Retail and Professional Services Grant opportunity.

On Thursday, December 18, 2014, the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development will begin accepting Retail and Professional Services Grant applications for the Downtown Development Tier. To assist applicants with identifying whether proposed projects are located within the eligible area, a state-of-the-art mapping application has been developed by the City’s Geographic Information Systems Division. To view the mapping application, visit

The deadline to apply is Friday, January 30, 2015, at 4 p.m. Additional information, including grant submission guidelines and a downloadable application, can be found at

Potential applicants interested in learning more about this grant opportunity can attend a public information session on Thursday, January 8, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Audit Services Conferences Room, located on the first floor of City Hall, 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham.

Retail and Professional Services Grant

The Retail and Professional Services Grant’s objective is to assist business owners with interior improvements, signs and facade improvements for their street-level business locations. The goal is to encourage retail activity and to improve the pedestrian experience in select neighborhoods. Eligible improvements include costs related to taxable capital improvements to the building interior, and signage and façade improvements that are physically, historically and architecturally compatible with relevant design guidelines. Improvements may include, walls, floors, ceilings, lighting and electrical, kitchen equipment, plumbing, sprinkler systems, built-in display furnishings and shelving, HVAC, windows, doors, interior and exterior painting, exterior facades, signs, awnings and marquees and other items. Costs related to the design, fabrication, refurbishment and installation as well as demolition, restoration of vintage elements and removal of deteriorated building materials are also eligible.

The maximum incentive per business or address shall not exceed $20,000, with up to $2,500 usable for the signage portion of the grant. In no case shall the incentive exceed 50 percent of the total project cost. Funds will be provided through reimbursement upon completion of the project and submission of appropriate documentation proving compliance with the terms of the grant. Funds may only be used for work done after the grant is approved and within one year of grant approval. Funding of any application is subject to availability. After receiving a completed grant application, all efforts will be made to evaluate and determine funding requests within 30 business days of the submission deadline. The City anticipates notifying applicants of their award status by March 13, 2015.

Interested applicants who have additional questions should contact Senior Economic Development Coordinator Peter Coyle with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development by email at [email protected] or by phone at (919) 560-4965, ext. 15205.