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Façade Improvement Grant

The City of Rochester and the RDA recognize the importance of a high-quality retail and business environment to the continued success of Downtown Rochester.

Since beginning in 2010, the grant has assisted 83 businesses, distributed more than $1 million in grants, and has seen more than $3.5 million invested into downtown.

The Façade Improvement Grant Program is intended to help encourage investment and bring exterior facades of business properties in Downtown Rochester more in tune with Urban Village Design guidelines. The program is offered as an incentive to Downtown property owners.


Any property or business owner whose property lies within the special service district (Downtown Rochester) is eligible for the program. Buildings constructed within the last three years are ineligible.

Use of funds

The funds may be used to pay for up to 50 percent of the costs associated with the design and construction of improvements to a building’s exterior facades. Grant funds will be provided as a reimbursement to the business or property owner. The funds will not be available to projects seeking assistance for signage only. The RDA Design Review Committee will consider signage based on the long-term improvements to the property and signage that is deemed as architectural signage.

Grant amount

Property and business owners may apply for grant assistance of up to 50 percent of the cost of improvements, not to exceed $20,000. Grant funds will be made available on a first come first serve basis.

Design Assistance

An additional $2,000 may be granted to procure a licensed design professional/architect for the RDA Design Review process (matching funds are not a requirement from the applicant).

It is highly recommended that applications include a professional rendering of the project from a licensed design firm. This funding is outside of the max amount of $20,000. Thus, a project may receive a max amount of $22,000.

Application information

Facade Improvement Grant Overview and Application

Sample Facade Improvement Grant Application

Urban Village Design Guidelines


Contact the Rochester Downtown Alliance at or 507-216-9882.

Before and After Photos