Storefront Improvement Program

Picture of The Little Details brick and mortar storefront in North Cambridge

Cambridge property owners or tenants are eligible for financial help to renovate or restore the exterior of their commercial buildings through the Storefront Improvement Program. The goal of the program is to improve the physical appearance of independent businesses and enhance Cambridge's commercial districts.

Program Description

The Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) helps property owners and business tenants improve the front of their commercial building by paying for a portion of select construction or rehabilitation costs. SIP funds are paid in the form of a reimbursement check, upon project completion. SIP funds are a grant, not a loan.

Cambridge property owners or business tenants are now eligible for up to $50,000 in funds. Approved accessibility costs are reimbursed at a rate of 90% (up to $25,000) and all other approved costs are reimbursed at a rate of 50% (up to $25,000). Past awardees can reapply for grant funding three years after completing a previously awarded project.

Past SIP funds have been reimbursed to projects that:

  • Create more accessible* front entrances by installing new ramps, walkways, and/or automatic doors with push buttons. * perM.G.L. c. 22, § 13A, of 521 CMR
  • Improve energy efficiency of first floor spaces through new doors and windows as well as other mitigation treatments like awnings.
  • Restore historic elements or add new design elements that improve the overall look of the building.
  • Increase the visibility of storefront by installing new signage, including blade signs and window graphics.
  • Add exterior lighting, permanent planter boxes, new paint, or other fixtures that elevate a storefront appearance.

To qualify for reimbursement funds, interested property owners and business tenants must complete an SIP application, provide quotes and designs from contractors/vendors, and be approved by the SIP manager to enter into a contract with the City of Cambridge.

Click here for a map of past project locations.

Application Form

To participate in the Storefront Improvement Program complete the Storefront Improvement Program application. Before applying, please review the Storefront Improvement Program guidelines.

Contact Christina DiLisio at or 617-349-4601 with any questions or to request paper copies of the Storefront Improvement Program application and guidelines.

Project Success

The Storefront Improvement Program's success at increasing the number of accessible business storefronts throughout the city has earned it the distinction of Semifinalist of the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center Innovations in American Government Awards in 2017 and again in 2018.

Innovations in American Government Semifinalist 

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 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,, 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.