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Storefront Improvement Program for Redevelopment Project Areas

The Storefront Improvement Program for Redevelopment Project Areas is provided by the Redevelopment Agency but is managed by the Economic Development's Office of Small Business. The Office of Small Business also administers the City-wide Storefront Improvement Program.

Where in the City is this program available?

The Redevelopment Agency's Storefront Improvement Program for Redevelopment Project Areas is currently available to eligible participants with qualified storefronts in the following areas:

Note that businesses within Downtown San Diego may apply for assistance through the Centre City Development Corporation's Focus on Downtown: A Façade Improvement Program.

What are the benefits of participating in this program?

The Redevelopment Agency provides free conceptual design assistance and financial incentives to property owners and business tenants who wish to make a creative change to their storefronts.

Financial assistance is provided in the form of a forgivable loan. The amount of the loan may be up to two-thirds of the project cost, subject to the caps indicated below. Caps are higher for improvements to historically designated properties.

Standard Storefront (one or two units)

  • Up to $20,000 (non-historic)
  • Up to $30,000 (historic)

Multiple Storefront (three or more units)

  • Up to $40,000 (non-historic)
  • Up to $50,000 (historic)

Who and what improvements are generally eligible for this program?

The Storefront Improvement Program for Redevelopment Project Areas is open to property owners and business tenants in redevelopment project areas managed by the City's Redevelopment Department. Participants must implement façade enhancements that have the potential to further community revitalization and are consistent with all applicable policies and regulations. A business tenant must have a minimum of five years remaining on the property lease at the time of project completion. All participants must possess a valid City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate.

Program Exclusions: National franchises, large office buildings in excess of 80,000-square-feet, residential rental buildings (apartments), home-based businesses, structures not facing the public right-of-way, government-owned and occupied buildings, and churches and other religious institutions. Any improvements invisible from the public right-of-way or not fundamentally fixed to or part of the façade, and any improvements deemed inconsistent with Redevelopment purposes and objectives are not eligible. Also ineligible are properties that have received storefront improvement financial assistance from either the Agency or City within the last five years.

What are the differences between this program and the Economic Development's Storefront Improvement Program?

While both programs share the same goals and objectives, the lists below provide an overview of the differences between the two programs:

Redevelopment Agency Program
  • Memorandum of Lien Required
  • Forgivable Loan Issued
  • Comprehensive General Liability Insurance Coverage Required
  • Standard Storefront Cap → $20,000
    Multiple Storefront Cap → $40,000
  • Historic Property Incentive → 2/3 of project cost up to $10,000
  • Available in Redevelopment Project Areas Only
  • Prevailing Wage Required
Economic Development Program
  • Terms and Conditions Certification Required
  • Rebate/Award Issued
  • Standard Storefront Cap → $5,000
    Multiple Storefront Cap → $10,000
  • Historic Property Incentive → 1/2 of project cost up to $7,500
  • Public Art Incentive → 1/2 of project cost up to $7,500
  • Available to Small Businesses Only (12 or fewer employees)
  • Available Citywide

Where can I get more information regarding this program?

Please review the Program Guidelines (PDF), which contains more details on eligibility and other program requirements and describes the general application/program process.

For additional information on the Redevelopment Agency's Storefront Improvement Program for Redevelopment Project Areas, contact Alissa Gabriel at (619) 236-6460 or agabriel@sandiego.gov.

Where can I get more information specifically on Economic Development's program?

More information is available by visiting the Economic Development's Storefront Improvement Program web page or by contacting Alissa Gabriel at (619) 236-6460 or agabriel@sandiego.gov.