Storefront Improvement Program

Door Store Facade after the Program
Photo Gallery

Cambridge property owners or tenants can access technical and financial resources to renovate or restore commercial building exterior facades through the Storefront Improvement Program. The Program improves the physical appearance of independent businesses and enhances Cambridge's commercial districts.

The Latest 

  • New Program Campaign: Storefronts-For-All in Cambridge – Get money for upgrades to your storefront. Improve accessibility and grow your business!
  • Ten accessibility, façade, or signage and lighting improvement projects have been designated for FY2016.
  • Reimbursement grants range from $2,500 to $35,000 based on the scope of work.
  • Completed projects for FY2015-2016 include: Shepard Restaurant in Harvard Square, Spindlers Confections in North Massachusetts Ave., Loyal Nine Restaurant in East Cambridge, and Darwins, LTD in Central Square.
  • We are accepting applications for FY2017 storefront improvement 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.

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 Manager 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 Christina DiLisio, cdilisio@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.