Purpose of the Program
The City of Knoxville Community Development Office is providing an
incentive program to improve the façades of certain types of
buildings within targeted redevelopment areas. By bettering the appearance
of building façades, the program serves to improve the economic
viability of these areas. Better aesthetics increase property values,
improve the marketability of space within the buildings and draw business
and residents to the area.
The current façade improvement target areas are the Broadway-Central
Area, the Five Points Redevelopment Area, the Mechanicsville Redevelopment
Area, the Burlington Business District and the Jackson Avenue Redevelopment
Applications for the façade improvement program will be available
from the 0 Community Development Office, as funding allows. Applicants
will be required to complete the program application and provide
a project timeline and architectural drawings and specifications
of the proposed façade improvement work. Proposals must pass
a threshold review for eligibility, and will then be reviewed for
quality and impact of the proposed improvements. Approval of applications
will be considered based on strength of proposals and readiness
to begin work.
All property owners willing to improve the exterior of properties
located within the designated program areas may be eligible to receive
assistance. A recipient may utilize the Façade Improvement
Program in conjunction with other public financial resources. Owners
may receive assistance for more than one building based on funding
Eligible buildings are commercial buildings with façades
visible from the street. New construction will not be considered
for this program. For the purposes of this program, blighted means
designated for acquisition or otherwise identified as blighted under
a redevelopment plan or as part of the redevelopment planning process.
Applicants will be required to demonstrate financial capacity to
meet the program match-funding requirements, and must be current
on all property taxes, mortgages and insurance.
Buildings will not be required to be occupied to be eligible for
Eligible Activities Permanent exterior improvements, including:
Façade renovation activities must involve the general upgrading
of a building's external appearance in compliance with the Design
Guidelines and Design Review process.
Examples of eligible activities:
Masonry repairs and tuckpointing;
Repair/replace/preserve historically significant architectural
Exterior painting and stucco;
Awnings and canopies;
Window and door repair or replacement;
Permanent exterior signage integrated into the storefront
Permanent exterior lighting;
Repair/replacement of gutters and down spouts;
Façade building code items;
Visible roof repairs in conjunction with structural improvements;
Decking and stairs;
Side and rear building façades where improvements
will serve to cause the removal of a blight designation;
Examples of activities that are generally not eligible:
Attached, hanging or projecting signs unrelated to the
architecture of the building;
Mechanical equipment enclosures (non-visible);
Temporary, portable or non-permanent improvements;
Expansion of building area;
Conversion of use;
Refinance of existing debt;
Payment of delinquent taxes;
Improvements in progress or completed prior to loan/grant approval.
The available funding is based on the square footage of the eligible
façade. Buildings within the program areas can receive $20
per square foot, with a maximum of $50,000 per building, based on
total project cost. Applicants must provide a match equal to or
greater than twenty percent of the amount awarded through this program.
The match must be spent on the façade improvement project.
The program funding will be provided in form of a loan which is
forgiven over a five year period, providing the property continues
to be maintained in accordance with the program requirements, such
as retention of ownership, maintenance of the façade, and
payment of all property taxes due.
Eligible proposals will be required to follow design guidelines
provided for this program. These guidelines are provided to assure
appropriateness of the proposed work, and to provide for compatibility
with the affected building's original appearance and with other
area buildings. For buildings not within an H-l overlay and not
otherwise designated as historic, the design guidelines are provided
to essentially 'do no harm to the possibility of a future historic
In the case of buildings within an H-1 overlay or otherwise designated
as historic, the façade improvements must meet all applicable
historic preservation requirements in addition to the program's
façade improvement design guidelines and program requirements.
Design Review Committee
Applications will be considered by a Design Review Committee in
order to assure, through an equitable process, that the application
meets all applicable design-guidelines.
Architectural Drawings and Specifications
Applicants will be required to include architectural drawings and
specifications of the proposed façade improvements as part
of their application.
Architectural assistance for design of improvements - architectural
costs (up to $1,000) associated with façade improvements
to a building may be used as part of the applicant's required match
funding, providing the property owner utilizes the architectural
plans in the building renovation. Involve interior rehabilitation including modernization
of electrical, mechanical, or structural elements. However, façade
improvement funds may be used for façade improvements in
conjunction with a separately financed rehabilitation project.
1. Reimbursements - all assistance is on a reimbursement basis following
completion of the project. The total reimbursement for all forms
of façade improvement assistance shall not exceed $50,000
per project. Projects must be completed within three months of the
start of construction, unless the City approves a longer timeline,
at the City's sole discretion.
2. Security - the façade improvement project reimbursement
will be secured by a. deed of trust on the real estate for the requisite
term which will self-amortize proportionally each year; providing
the property continues to be maintained in accordance with the program
requirements, such as retention of ownership, maintenance of the
façade, and payment of all property taxes due.
3. Repayments - No repayments will be required if all terms are
4. Default - A recipient shall be considered in default and the
balance of financial assistance immediately due and payable upon
failure of the borrower: to retain ownership of the property for
the duration of the forgivable loan, failure to properly maintain
the façade after improvements are completed, delinquency
ill property taxes; or failure to operate in compliance with all
applicable local, state, and federal codes, laws, and regulations.
5. Remedies of Default - In the event of default, the City may exercise
any combination of the remedies available to it with respect to
the security agreement(s). The City may take whatever action at
law, or in equity, as may appear necessary or desirable to collect
any outstanding balance or to enforce the performance and observation
of any other obligation or agreement of the recipient.
6. Ineligible Activities - Applications which will not be considered
for financial assistance are those which:
Do not follow the approved architectural plans and designs
for the façade renovation.
Cannot demonstrate the ability to bear the entire cost
of relocation arid related expenses of residential or nonresidential
tenants displaced as a result of project activities.
Activities specifically prohibited by the program's funding source.
1. All work must be done in accordance with the Design Guidelines,
all applicable local, state and federal codes, and rules and regulations
for the Community Development Block Grant program. Any renovation
work undertaken prior to the City's final written authorization
to begin construction is not eligible for assistance under the program.
All renovation work undertaken in conjunction with the façade
improvement program which exceeds approved financial assistance
shall be borne by the applicant.
2. All construction management shall be the responsibility' of the
applicant. All work undertaken is subject to the Davis Bacon Act.
3. Properties with residential components will be required to meet
applicable lead-based paint abatement requirements.
4. Each recipient will be responsible for all acquisition and relocation
costs when displacement of residential or nonresidential tenants
occurs as a result of the project, in accordance with the Uniform
Relocation Act. If temporary tenant relocation will be required
for this project, contact the City for further guidance prior to
submitting this application.
5. All applicants shall be required to demonstrate compliance with
nondiscriminatory employment practices and Affirmative Action Programs
under Title VI and Section 112 of the Civil Rights Act of 1969 and
Public Law 92-65. Applicants are encouraged, to utilize minority
and women-owned business enterprises under this program.
6. The City, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the
Comptroller General of the United States, 'or any duly authorized
representatives, shall have access to any books, documents, papers
and records which are directly related to the program assistance
for the purposes of monitoring, making audits, examination, excerpts,
and transcripts. All records supporting the costs and components
of program assisted improvements shall be maintained for a period
not less than three (3) years following completion of the program
agreement period, agreement termination, or default, whichever shall
first occur. No person who is an employee, agent, consultant, officer,
appointed official, or elected official of the City of Knoxville
who exercise or have exercised any functions or responsibilities
with respect to CDBG activities, or are in a position to participate
in a decision-making process, or gain inside information with regard
to such activities, may obtain a personal or financial interest
or benefit, or have interest in any program assistance, either for
themselves or those with whom they have family or business ties,
during their tenure or for one year thereafter.