About the Program

The City of Laurel Department of Economic and Community Development (Laurel ECD) will administer the Business Façade Improvement Grant Program.

The goals of this Program are:

  1. To invest in commercial, office, and industrial properties located within the City that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  2. To assist property owners with the rehabilitation of the facades of their commercial, industrial, or office property located in the City to create a positive visual impact to attract new business and spur additional private investment to offset the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Submission of an incomplete or inaccurate application may result in delay or ineligibility. Please read all grant terms and application instructions before starting and submitting your application. Applications are limited to one (1) per property  in the City.

 

Grant Amount

This Program will award grants to property owners located in the City of Laurel (“City”) in amounts based upon the total above-grade square footage of the commercial, office, or industrial building(s) as shown in the chart below:

Total Above-Grade Square Footage

Maximum Grant Award

0-15,000

$50,000

15,001-100,000

$100,000

100,001 +

$200,000

 

The minimum grant request for this program will be $5,000 for all applicants. The total fund dedicated to this Program is $1,000,000.

Funds to support this program are provided locally through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), via the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

 

Grant Terms

The City  will provide grants  of between $5,000 and $200,000 to owners of commercial, office, or industrial properties within the City’s  incorporated boundaries. The maximum grant award amount per legal business address in the City will be based upon the total above-grade square footage of each property, as set forth above. While an owner may submit more than one grant application, a separate grant application shall be required for each individual property in the City, and if a grant is awarded, it shall be applied solely to the property on the grant application. The determination of whether any given property is a separate property for the purposes of this grant application shall be made by the City, in its sole judgment and discretion.

The grants shall only be used to cover eligible costs that are covered under “Use of Funds,” as set forth herein.  Property façade improvements made through this program  shall be those that contribute to the visual enhancement of the property as the property can be viewed from a public right-of-way. The determination as to whether the proposed use of funds by any applicant is eligible for funds from this grant shall be determined by the City  in its sole judgment and discretion, based upon applicable criteria, and is not appealable. The following constitutes examples of generally eligible and ineligible funds, though the City retains the right to determine whether, based upon the facts of any application, the purpose of the funding as set forth in the application meets the applicable criteria:

  • Use of Funds
    • Exterior painting
    • Exterior lighting
    • Exterior doors, windows, and shutters
    • Replacement or repair of exterior stucco, tile, masonry work, or siding
    • Permanent Signage, canopies, and awnings (must be located on the property)
    • Restoration of historic components of the structure
    • Replacement or repair of walkways, sidewalks, or paths
    • Repairs to exterior porches or decks, including handrails, banisters, and/or support columns
    • Replacement or repair of fencing
    • Professional, engineering, architectural, and permit fees
  • Ineligible Expenses
    • Interior renovations
    • Landscaping (e.g. plants, trees, mulch)
    • Non-permanent fixtures (e.g. exterior furniture, A-frame signs)
    • Roof replacement or repair
    • Foundation work
    • Parking lot, parking pad, or driveway improvements

 

In order to be approved for funding, at least fifty percent (50%) of the façade improvements proposed in each application must be clearly visible from a public right-of-way, as determined by the City in its sole judgment and discretion. Upon the award of any grant: (1) the owner/applicant shall be required to obtain all necessary permits and inspections through the City’s Office of the Fire Marshall and Permit Services for the construction/installation of the façade improvements as described in the grant application; and (2) all improvements shall be completed by licensed and insured professionals.

 

Eligibility

  • Only the legal property owner may apply for a grant under this program, and each application shall apply to only one (1) separate property.
  • If the property is owned by a business entity, the business must be in good standing with the State of Maryland
  • The applicant must be current on all City, County, State, and Federal tax payments
  • The applicant and property must be free of any outstanding code violations
  • If the property is currently occupied by business tenants, all tenants must have a current and valid City of Laurel Use and Occupancy permit
  • The property must be located within the municipal boundaries of the City, and must be  located in one of the following zones:
    • C-N – Commercial Neighborhood
    • C-C – Commercial Community
    • C-G – Commercial General
    • C-SH – Commercial Shopping Center
    • C-V – Commercial Village
    • C-VAC – Commercial Village Activity Center
    • O-B – Office Building
    • O-B-E – Office Building
    • I-CS – Industrial Commercial Services
    • I-G – Industrial General
    • I-RTP – Industrial Research and Technology Park

The property owner must demonstrate how the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the commercial, industrial, or office property. This can be achieved by one or more of the following ways:

  1. The property experienced a loss of business tenant(s) between March 3, 2021 and January 3, 2022
  2. The property experienced a loss of revenue between March 3, 2021 and January 3, 2022 due to business tenant(s) being unable to pay their monthly lease expenses
  3. The business tenants experienced a loss of revenue between March 3, 2021 and January 3, 2022 compared to revenue of 2019

Ineligible Properties or Persons

  • Properties that do not meet the eligible zoning requirements
  • Properties in which elected or appointed officials of the City, or City Staff members, have a financial interest of at least 25% shall not be eligible for this grant.

 

Application Instructions

  • Please read all eligibility requirements thoroughly before beginning your application.
  • The application may not be updated after submission. Please make sure your application is correct and complete before submitting.
  • Only one application submission per legal and taxable property address will be considered.
  • Submission of an incomplete and/or inaccurate application may disqualify an applicant from being awarded funding. Please check your application for completeness and accuracy before submitting.
  • Review the Application Deadlines written below. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Applications must be submitted through the online application portal
  • If your property is located within the boundaries of the City of Laurel Historic District, prior to approval, your application will need to go before the Historic District Commission for approval.  Click here to see if your property is located in the Historic District. 
  • If assistance is needed with the application, please contact ECD@Laurel.md.us

 

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted beginning Monday January 3, 2022 at 9:00 am.

The deadline to apply will be Friday July 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm.

Applications will only be accepted electronically through the online application portal. One application per business entity will be accepted.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Submission of an incomplete or inaccurate application may result in ineligibility. If you have any questions regarding this grant opportunity, please email ECD@Laurel.md.us