Facade Improvement Program

Our grant program helps property owners upgrade the facade of their business or commercial properties

In cooperation with the Village of Shorewood Community Development Authority (CDA), the Shorewood Business Improvement District has created a grant program to help property owners upgrade the facade of their business or commercial properties. Since its inception in 2004, this grant program has allocated almost $1.5 million to improve Shorewood’s storefronts and commercial buildings.


This Facade Improvement Program is established to stimulate exterior building improvements to existing commercial storefronts in the Village of Shorewood. Improvements shall be sufficient in scope to produce visible improvements to commercial building facades.

Program Goals

  • Enhance the attractiveness of the Village’s Business District.
  • Promote a high level of maintenance for a sustainable Business District.
  • Promote commercial vitality and increased economic activity in the Business District.
  • Maintain or improve existing commercial property values within the Business District which may also effectuate an increase in property values of the surrounding residential areas.

Target Area

The Target Area for this Facade Improvement Program includes commercial properties along the following commercial corridors, within the Village of Shorewood boundaries – both sides of Oakland Avenue, Capitol Drive and Wilson Drive.

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities shall include but are not limited to the following improvements made to commercial building façade(s) facing a public street:

  • Repair and/or replacement of the original building’s materials and decorative details which are deteriorated or missing.
  • Repair of non-original materials which cannot be removed due to deterioration of the underlying original building material.
  • Cleaning of exterior building surfaces.
  • Tuck pointing and masonry repair.
  • Painting.
  • Repair, replacement or addition of entrances, doors, display windows, transoms and upper story windows.
  • Removal, repair and/or replacement of existing signs and awnings.
  • New signs, awnings, parklets and patio vertical elements (subject to maximum reimbursement as described in the program funding section).
  • New parklet, deck and patio vertical elements (subject to maximum reimbursement as described in the program funding section)
  • Design fees (subject to maximum reimbursement as detailed below).
  • Permanent exterior lighting.
  • Screening of dumpsters and parking lots, if made of high quality materials in compliance with Shorewood Design Review Board requirements.

Non-eligible Activities

  • Work on non-mixed use, residential buildings.
  • Work on a commercial building facade not facing a public street.
  • Work on a roof and/or flooring.
  • Work done before execution of a Façade Improvement Program Agreement
  • Purchase of property.
  • Construction of a NEW building (Construction of an entirely new building AND construction of any renovation where over 50% of the square footage of the building renovation is new construction).
  • Patios, decks or balconies not facing a public street
  • Fixtures and equipment.
  • Inventory
  • Landscaping.
  • Signage not in compliance with the Village’s sign code other than for size-related Design Review Board granted exceptions.

Program Funding

This program is established to stimulate eligible exterior improvements to existing commercial storefronts. Two types of grants are available under the program.

Concept Design Grant

Up to $2,000. This grant will share the cost of developing a conceptual design and cost estimate for improvement of the subject building facade. An approved applicant will receive 90% of the consultant cost for developing the completed conceptual design and cost estimate up to $2,000

Façade Improvement Grant

Up to $10,000 (in addition to $2,000 design grant) per storefront. This grant will share in the actual cost of implementing the improvements identified in the conceptual design and cost estimate including the cost to complete final design and construction documents. An approved applicant will receive an amount equal to 50% of the aforementioned costs up
to $10,000 per storefront, with a cap for new signage and awnings limited to $1,500 and, parklets, decks and patio vertical elements limited to $1,500.

A property owner or business owner that is proposing to do additional improvements to a commercial storefront in which past improvements were funded by the Facade Improvement Program, may apply for a Facade Improvement Program grant. However, this Façade Improvement Program limits grants to $10,000 per storefront (in addition to Village of Shorewood: Façade Improvement Program $2,000 design grant), per five-year period. Subsequent requests within that five-year period will require direct approval by a majority vote of the CDA members. In considering this the CDA shall take into consideration one or more of the following factors: change in ownership, change in business concept and the ability to attract new businesses. Application requirement A through H and documentation attachments B and C are minimal requirements for all façade improvement grant requests, whether incentive requests are below $10,000 or exceed $10,000.

Application Process

The Shorewood Façade Grant Program is described in full above and on the  Village of Shorewood website. Once the applicant familiarizes themselves with the program guidelines, they should contact the Shorewood BID executive director to schedule a meeting to discuss the proposed project and how the program may be accessed. The official application and conceptual design phase application can be found at the link below this article.

If you are interested in learning more, review the Façade Improvement Program PDF or contact Shorewood BID Ericka Lang at 414-248-2532 or director@shorewoodwi.com to discuss the program guidelines and application process.

Looking to Open a Business in Shorewood?

The Shorewood business district is experiencing continued growth and momentum, with an influx of unique new businesses as well as mixed-use projects from top area developers such as Mandel Group and Wired Properties.