Great Streets Program
The City of Minneapolis Great Streets Program offers grant opportunities to perform business district revitalization and economic development work to community development corporations, business associations, neighborhood organizations, cultural organizations, and other nonprofit entities. Commercial revitalization takes multiple forms and varying levels of targeted public investment. Great Streets is one tool for assisting neighborhood business districts with continued health and improved vitality.
Areas that are eligible for Great Streets resources include: commercial corridors, commercial nodes, LRT station areas, and activity centers, as designated in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Development. The Great Streets program prioritizes resources to eligible areas with demonstrated need. Eligible areas are thus grouped into three categories (intervene, support, and monitor) based on several measures of economic health, need, and opportunity.
areas that are experiencing weak development interest or significant obstacles to attaining the City’s commercial development or business investment goals
areas showing signs of strength, but that remain fragile and have some barriers to market development and business investment
areas with strong market development and business activity
areas with strong market development and business activity
For more information, contact Rebecca Parrell, 612-673-5018.
Business District Support Grants (BDS)
The City Council awards Business District Support (BDS) grants to not-for-profit organizations with the capacity and mission to perform business district revitalization and economic development work.
Each neighborhood business district is unique - with its own set of opportunities and challenges and requires a customized approach to improving its economic health. BDS grants fund a wide range of activities, with the overarching goal of strengthening neighborhood business districts and building sustainable mechanisms for ongoing vitality and investment.
Eligible proposals are focused on initiatives and investments that enhance business district vitality, benefit existing businesses, diversify an area’s client base, or increase the diversity of goods and services provided, particularly in communities where there are existing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities.
Overviews of grants awarded in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 help illustrate the diverse set of activities funded. City Council staff reports recommending grantees describe program achievements of the past year: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.
City staff issue an annual Request for Proposals (RFP) each January to solicit proposals. Documents from the most recent RFP include:
- RFP document (PDF) (information and instructions for submitting a responsive proposal: eligible geographic areas, eligible and ineligible activities, contract requirements, evaluation criteria, et cetera)
- RFP Proposal Form (the application document)
- Budget template
- Q&A Document (PDF)
For more information contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
Façade Improvement Matching Grants
Neighborhood business districts are the front door of Minneapolis neighborhoods. A welcoming, vibrant business district sends a powerful, positive message, just as a poorly maintained or vacant row of storefronts conveys a negative impression.
The Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program helps revitalize and sustain the economic vitality of the city’s commercial districts through public/private investments in façade projects for commercial properties. Façade improvements make an aesthetic impact, improving the appearance of individual buildings and consequently entire commercial districts.
From 2008–2017, the Great Streets façade program stimulated over $5.8 million of private investment and over $2.3 million of public investment in 820 façade improvement projects citywide.
Who can apply?
Building owners and commercial tenants (with property owner’s approval) can apply for a Great Streets façade grant if:
- the façade improvements are for a commercial business or commercial building, meaning it has a retail or office use AND
- they are located within an eligible business district (PDF).
How does the program work? What do grants pay for?
The program's Business Guidelines (PDF) explain how the program works, what types of improvements are eligible in the program, which are not, and other important information about the program. Read this document carefully before you begin planning your project.
Need design ideas?
The Great Streets Façade Design Guide is a fabulous resource for all commercial property owners and business owners considering façade changes or updates. The encouraged projects listed are eligible for façade grants and the discouraged activities are NOT eligible.
For more information
Contact Judy Moses at (612) 673-5283.
City Council Staff Reports Recommending Façade Improvement Matching Grant Contracts to the City Council
- 2018 Recommendations
- 2017 Recommendations
- 2016 Recommendations
- 2015 Recommendations
- 2014 Recommendations
- 2013 Recommendations
- 2012 Recommendations
- 2011 Recommendations
- 2010 Recommendations
- 2009 Recommendations
- 2008 Recommendations
Real Estate Development Gap Financing Loans
The City has gap financing loans available for transformative commercial real estate redevelopment projects or acquisitions located in Great Streets Eligible Areas. The Application Form may be submitted at any time.
For more information, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
The City of Minneapolis has access to a wide range of demographic and market data. Staff can provide demographic and market reports about neighborhood commercial areas to community groups and others involved in business district revitalization and retail recruitment. The reports ARE NOT conclusive or comprehensive market studies. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has a good primer on understanding market data and getting started on retail recruitment - Community Revitalization Planning Guide. To request a customized profile for a geographic area, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
Staff can also provide businesses and entrepreneurs with customized demographic and market reports based on factors related specifically to their business type and location. Contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
Business Associations and Other Resources
- Commercial District Advisor, an online resource for sharing information, ideas, and strategies for successful commercial district revitalization around the country.
- Connect with neighborhood business associations (pdf) and other business owners to stay informed and work together to improve your district.
City Council Reports Related to Great Streets
- Updated Categorization of Eligible Areas November 11, 2017 (PDF)
- Adding Two Commercial Districts to Eligible Areas as Pilot April 29, 2014 (PDF)
- Review of Great Streets Program Fund Balance (PDF)
- Loan Origination Fee and Underwriting Guidelines Nov. 30, 2010 (PDF)
- Categorization of Great Streets Areas March 10, 2009 (PDF)
- City Council report on Great Streets April 17, 2007 (PDF)
- City Council report on Commercial Corridors November 7, 2006 (PDF)
Last updated Apr 17, 2019