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SSA 18 Facade Rebate Program

This is the online application to apply for a rebate through the Northalsted SSA 18 Facade Rebate Program. If you have any questions while completing this application, email or call 773-883-0500.

Program Guidelines

1. Description

The Facade Rebate Program (the “Program”) was created and approved by the Northalsted Special Service Area 18 (“SSA 18”) Commission to provide incentives in the form of a rebate for physical improvements to storefronts and facades along the public way. The goal of the Façade Rebate Program is to beautify and revitalize the SSA district, attract and retain businesses, enhance the streetscape, and provide design guidelines that enhance the character and qualities of the district.

The Façade Rebate Program is a subject to the approval of and administered locally by the Northalsted Business Alliance the SSA Service Provider agency and under the oversight of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

Applicants that meet all Program requirements outlined in this document may receive a rebate of up to 60% of eligible costs, not to exceed a total of $2,500 per storefront.

2. Eligible Applicants
  1. Applicants must be located on the following SSA 18 service area corridors:
    • Halsted Street (Belmont to Grace)
    • Broadway (Grace to Irving Park)
    • Clarendon Avenue – West Side (Broadway to Irving Park)
  2. Rebate requests will not be granted for façade improvements that were started before the application is received and approved. The application must be approved by the SSA Commission before construction can begin. If the applicant moves ahead with the project before receiving the approval the applicant accepts the risk that the project may not be approved for a rebate.
  3. Applicants must fully and timely comply with all the requirements and deadlines set forth in the Application. 
  4. Applicants must be the entity paying for the improvements. 
  5. If the applicant is a tenant, written consent of the property owner is required. 
  6. Only owners and tenants of street-level property located within the SSA boundaries are eligible for the Program. 
  7. The property must be free of liens and legal questions as to ownership of the property, excepting any mortgage liens. 
  8. Applicants must have proof of proper zoning and City permits for the improvements. 
  9. To the extent that the owner or tenant is supplying their own materials or labor for the improvements, profits and overhead are not eligible expenditures for the rebate. 
  10. Applications are considered on a rolling basis through the calendar year. There is no guarantee that funding will be available upon request of rebate. 
  11. If multiple applications are received before the next available SSA Commission review AND the combined rebate requested in all applications exceeds the available Program funding, a lottery will be held to determine the order in which the projects will be funded and a wait list for rebates as future funding becomes available. 
  12. The Department of Planning and Development has declared that SSA Commissioners are eligible to participate in the Façade Rebate Program, provided they meet all other Program eligibility criteria and abstain from reviewing and voting on ALL Façade Rebate Program applications during the period beginning when their application is submitted until their Rebate check is approved and processed. 
  13. If any change in ownership of the property or business participating in the Façade Rebate Program occurs during the improvements, eligibility for the Façade Rebate Program will be suspended until a meeting with the SSA Service Provider agency staff and new ownership is completed and any changes to the original application are approved in writing. There is no guarantee that new ownership will be approved for the same rebate amount as the previous owner. All such applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  14. No property owner or business can receive more than one Facade Rebate within three calendar years from disbursement of the original grant.
3. Eligible Improvements

Improvements eligible for the rebate must be visible from the public right-of-way and have a positive impact on the building-front appearance. Improvements must be completed in accordance with the specifications described in the approved application, following the scope in the application, reflecting submitted costs and by the approved contractor whose bid was submitted with the application.

Eligible Improvements include:

  • Awnings
  • Doors
  • Exterior lighting
  • Graphics
  • Signage
  • Windows
  • Tuck-pointing
  • Masonry

Special approval needed:

  • Sidewalk repairs
  • Murals
  • Parking lot improvements such as landscaping buffers, decorate fencing, lighting or signage that face the primary commercial corridor

Ineligible Improvements include:

  • Roofing improvements – Interior improvements
  • Flower boxes and planters – New construction or additions
  • Rear, side, alley, or secondary improvements not visible from the public right-of-way
  • Improvements that are considered regular building upkeep or maintenance
  • Sidewalk café furniture considered temporary in nature, such as tables and chairs
  • Seasonal enhancements such as vestibules or winter enclosures 
  • Parking lot improvements that face side, streets, alleys or are not visible from the main shopping street.
  • Improvements planned for new buildings (constructed less than 5 years before application date), except for sidewalk cafes, awnings, and/or signage
4. Rebate Amounts

Approved applicants who make improvements that follow the guidelines of the Façade Rebate Program may receive a rebate according to the following guidelines:

  1. Up to a sixty (60) percent financial rebate for eligible improvements for projects costing at least one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars.
  2. The maximum rebate is $2,500 per storefront, with a maximum of one rebate per twenty-five (25) linear feet if multiple storefronts of different businesses exist. The rebate shall not exceed $7,500 for an applicant with a multiple store front property.
  3. Only properties within SSA #18 are eligible.
5. Application Process

Applications are subject to review and approval by the SSA 18 Board of Commissioners and a business shall only be awarded a rebate once within every three years. To apply for a rebate through the Facade Rebate Program, applicants must complete the following online application. Completed applications will be reviewed at the next scheduled SSA committee meeting. In case applications exceed current funding, the SSA 18 Commission and the Northalsted Business Alliance will ensure fair and impartial distribution of rebates by employing a lottery system to determine funding order and creating a waitlist for funding should it become available. The SSA 18 Board of Commissioners may award a rebate at an amount less than the allowable maximum. Paper applications submitted via mail will not be considered eligible.

6. Review Process

After the completed application is received, it will be reviewed by the SSA Design Committee. This entity will review and accept or reject each application in its sole and absolute discretion. The applicant may be asked to clarify design elements if requested by the Commission.

In order to determine what projects warrant the rebate the following are the criteria for review:

  • Proposed projects meet the program guidelines
  • Project provides a positive impact on the beautification of the public way
  • Projects that demonstrative the greatest need of public assistance
  • The size of the requested rebate
  • Projects that have not previously been funded
  • Applicants who demonstrate that the funding assistance will enhance the façade improvements
  • Buildings throughout the SSA in order to accomplish geographic diversification of limited funding

Once the Commission has reviewed the application, the applicant will be sent an approval email stating the rebate amount they can expect to receive for the proposed project or an explanation of why the application was not approved.

7. Implementation

Once the application has been submitted and necessary permits have been obtained from the City of Chicago, the applicant may proceed with the improvements in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted in their application. However, if the applicant moves ahead with the project before receiving the Approval Letter, they accept the risk that the project may not be approved for a rebate.

In order to ensure a timely project construction period, and to ensure the awarded funds are distributed within the same calendar year as the project is approved, all improvements should be completed within 180-days of the date of the Approval Letter. Failure to complete such work within the 180-day deadline shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary elsewhere in the Application or related program materials, constitute a material breach of the Program requirements resulting in the withdrawal of funding for the applicant’s project without further notice of any kind. Requests for deadline extensions must be made to the SSA Service Provider in writing before the initial 180-day project period is closed.

8. Rebate Request and Distribution

Once the Improvements have been completed, the applicant must request the rebate by submitting the following documentation to the SSA Service Provider in writing:

  1. Written verification that all agreed-upon work has been completed correctly
  2. Before and after photographs showing the completed work
  3. Copies of all paid invoices from the selected vendor(s)
  4. Copies of checks or credit card receipts for all eligible work that shows all work has been paid for in full.

After the Rebate Request has been received, the Northalsted Business Alliance will inspect the project to verify compliance with the Program guidelines and pre-approved plans. A rebate check will be sent within 30 days after the final inspection has taken place, provided the inspection confirms compliance, and pending fiscal year availability of funds. In some cases, applicants who complete work in the later part of the fiscal year may not receive funds until the first part of the following fiscal year.

Program Application