Storefront Improvement Program

Door Store Facade after the Program
Photo Gallery

The Storefront Improvement Program provides technical and financial assistance to property owners or tenants seeking to renovate or restore commercial building exterior facades. The Program seeks to improve the physical appearance of independent businesses and enhance the commercial districts of Cambridge.

The Latest 

  • New name for this business and property assistance is the Storefront Improvement Program (formerly known as the Façade, Signage and Lighting Program).
  • New Program Campaign: Storefronts-For-All in Cambridge – Get money for upgrades to your storefront. Improve accessibility and grow your business!
  • Twelve façade or signage & lighting improvement projects have been designated for FY2014.
  • Reimbursement grants range from $2,500 to $35,000 based on the scope of work.
  • Completed projects this fiscal year include: Cambridge Center for Adult Education and Beyt 2b Design.
  • We are accepting applications for FY2014-FY2015 design services and reimbursement grants.

Program Description

The Storefront Improvement Program provides technical and financial assistance to property owners or tenants seeking to renovate or restore commercial building exterior facades. The Program seeks to increase accessibility into storefronts, improve the physical appearance of independent businesses and enhance the commercial districts of Cambridge.

This program provides:

  • 90% matching grant up to $20,000 for ADA improvements to entrance, including ramps, lifts, doors hardware and automatic openers, accessible parking, and signage.
  • 50% matching grant up to $15,000 for other façade improvements, including better windows, paneling, architectural details and restoration of historic features.
  • 50% matching grant up to $2,500 for signage, lighting and awning improvements.
  • An architectural consultant retained by the City is available to provide assistance to applicants through the conceptual design stage at no cost to the applicants.

Please note that improvements made prior to approval of a design and contract by the Program's review committee will not be funded. Large scale projects may require a licensed architect and contractor to refine a conceptual design and to implement the City-approved plans. Reimbursement grant limits vary from year to year. Please contact the Program for information on the current funding limits.

Application Form

To participate in the Storefront Improvement Program business owners must complete the Storefront Improvement Program Guidelines and Application Form.

Completed Projects

Click here for a photo gallery of past participants of the program. 

Map of project locations.

Additional Resources

Cambridge Energy Alliance

The Cambridge Energy Alliance (CEA) is a city-sponsored nonprofit group. The CEA was created to save residents and business owners money on utility bills and maintenance expenses, while reducing Cambridge’s carbon footprint and creating jobs in the city. The Program offers practical solutions that will lead to comprehensive results. For more information, please visit the Cambridge Energy Alliance web site.

Disabled Access Tax Credit

For further information contact the Internal Revenue Service by visiting their website at www.IRS.gov or by calling 800/829-4933.  Additional information can be found by visiting the American with Disabilities Act website or calling the ADA Information Line at 800/514-0301 or TTY 800/514-0383.

Federal Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties

Federal historic preservation tax incentives are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure.  For more information, please visit the National Park Service’s website.

Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

State historic preservation tax incentives are available for qualified projects that the Massachusetts Historical Commission designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure.  For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s website.

For More Information

If you wish to participate in the Storefront Improvement Program, please contact Chris Basler contact Chris Basler, cbasler@cambridgema.gov, at 617/349-4601. The City of Cambridge will provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to persons with disabilities upon request.