Graphic Design Artwork Featuring a Storefront

Overview

The City of Milpitas’ Storefront Improvement Grant Program provides grants for exterior commercial storefront improvements to help increase economic vitality for local businesses. The Milpitas City Council allocated $365,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for this purpose of which, $75,000 has been allocated for design services. Eligible landlords and business owners may apply for grant funding via a competitive selection process.

Before and After Images of a Renovated Commercial Building and Storefront

Project Requirements

  • Be commercial businesses or tenant spaces on North and South Main Street1
  • Be visible from the public right-of-way (i.e., visible from the street)
  • Provide a community benefit (i.e., improves health, safety and/or appearance of a business

Eligible projects are located on North Main Street from Weller Lane to Carlo Street and on South Main Street from Carlo Street to Curtis Avenue

Grant Options

Consult the Midtown Specific Plan's Design Guidelines (pages 126-140) to develop project plans and drawings regarding:

  • Building Design*
  • Landscaping, Signage** and Lighting
  • Design Guidelines by Building Type

*Improvements to historical structures may require Planning Commission review depending on project scope following review by the Planning Department.

** A master sign program may apply to a commercial building's signage design.

Level 1 Grants

Level 1 Grants will cover either 75% or up to $15,000 of eligible costs2 whichever is less. Grant recipients will be responsible for all costs exceeding grant award. The following improvements require a Minor Site Development Permit issued by the Planning Department and Building Permit issued by the Building and Safety Department.

  • Landscaping3
  • Paint
  • Permanent Signage4
  • Permit Fees

Designs and materials shall comply with City standards

Drought resistant, native plants or decorative hardscape

Signage restrictions promoting alcoholic beverages, and tobacco and vaping products. Sign types limited to wall signs, blade signs, projecting signs and free-standing signs subject to zoning code.

Level 2 Grants 

Level 2 Grants will cover either 75% or up to $25,000 of eligible costs whichever is less. Grant recipients will be responsible for all costs exceeding the grant award. The following improvements5 require a Minor Site Development Permit issued by the Planning Department and Building Permit issued by the Building and Safety Department.

  • Exterior lighting
  • Awnings
  • Outdoor seating and benches
  • Outdoor dining features and structures
  • Windows
  • Restoration of historic architectural features and finishes
  • Removal of inappropriate architectural materials
  • Permit fees
  • Design consultant fees

Improvements shall comply with City design standards.

Consideration will be given to commercial buildings, including neighborhood-serving commercial spaces. Storefronts may be located within commercial centers, neighborhood shopping centers, and mixed-use developments in the eligible project areas on Main Street.

  • Applicants must own the property or currently operate their business at project site
  • No other projects must be planned for project site while grant-funded improvements are in progress
  • Improvements must be visible from the public right-of-way
  • Only exterior improvements are eligible for grant funds
  • Interior improvements are not eligible for grant funds
  • Proposed improvements requiring interior changes are not eligible for grant funds
  • Proof of at least three years remaining on tenant lease from application submittal date
  • Proof of current City-issued business license in good standing6
  • Applicants must have no outstanding City code violations7

Business owners/operators who are legal tenants

If violations exist, the grant recipient must demonstrate how violations will be resolved to the City's satisfaction before project initiation.

Eligible project area on North Main Street

Eligible Project Area on North Main Street Opens in new window

Eligible project area on South Main Street

Eligible project area on South Main Street Opens in new window