Weathered windows? Crumbling brick? Peeling paint? If you're a downtown business, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) wants to give you a face lift.
On Wednesday, the DDA awarded a $30,000 grant to applicant Don Nahat, of Center Street Ventures, for the building at 215 S. Center Street meant to improve and repair its exterior.
A flurry of activity will begin next week at the 3-story building at the corner of Third and Center streets, according to Chuck Semchena, an attorney representing the project.
A new stone facade and canvas awnings will replace brown metal siding and mansard roofs, materials that were popular in 1971 when the building was constructed. One of the goals the DDA's facade improvement program is to offer incentives for building updates, or in some cases returning building fronts to traditional details.
The conceptual budget for the building, which has been vacant and in litigation for two years, according to Semchena, is $446,700.
Factory Detroit Inc. currently occupies the second floor of the building. RBC Wealth Management plans to build-out the third floor and relocate to Royal Oak from Grosse Pointe, Semchena said. The first floor and basement are currently unoccupied and available for office, retail or restaurant space.
The facade program, which is called Up Front Downtown, initially had $10,000 in funds budgeted for grants for the fiscal year 2013-2104. Directors bumped the dollar amount up to $110,000 Monday, voting to transfer $100,000 from the DDA's contingency fund.
The DDA is also considering awarding a $10,000 grant for renovations to 201 E. Fourth St., the home of the Rasor Law Firm, a building owned by City Commissioner Jim Rasor. Rasor has requested $21,163, or one third of the eligible cost of renovations to the building, which is also known as Detroit Edison building.
Rasor's application request was tabled until November.
For downtown businesses considering renovations, the following exterior items may be eligible under the program:
- architectural elements, such as windows, doors and façade remodels
- sustainable solutions, such as energy efficient lighting
- repair and repointing of masonry
- building expansions
- new construction