Commercial Façade Improvement Grant


The Town of Lexington’s Commercial Façade Improvement Grant has been designed to encourage enhancement and investment in the overall revitalization of Downtown Lexington. This program provides grant funds to finance exterior improvements to a property owner or tenant’s commercial building that will be aesthetically pleasing and complimentary to local

design guidelines.


The program provides a one-time reimbursement, of up to $10,000 per building. Funds are limited. Only eligible façade improvements will be considered for funding.


Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants include owners of commercial properties and owners/managers of businesses located within the eligible highlighted area on page two and are investing at least $25,000 in the total interior and exterior renovation of the building. Business owners/managers who are leasing a building, for which improvements are proposed, must submit an Owner Consent Form with their completed application. Only businesses whose existing use is allowable by the Town’s current codes and regulations are eligible for funding through the grant program. The Town reserves the right to deny funding to applicants who are delinquent on payment of taxes, fines, or fees. Eligible Buildings: Eligible buildings are commercial buildings with façades visible from the Street. New construction will not be considered for this program. Buildings do not require occupancy in order to be eligible for this program. Eligible Expenditures/Activities: Façade renovation activities must involve the general upgrading of a building's external appearance. Façade program funding is to be used for permanent exterior visual improvements to storefronts and is not to be used for structural repairs. 

Permanent exterior improvements that are eligible include:
  • Masonry repairs and tuck pointing
  • Repair/replace/preserve (including the exposure and cleaning) historically significant architectural details
  • Storefront reconstruction
  • Cornice repair & exterior trim work
  • Exterior painting and repairs to the finishes of original buildings
  • Awnings and canopies
  • Window and door repair or replacement
  • Permanent exterior signage
  • Permanent exterior lighting
  • Repair/replacement of gutters and down spouts
  • Decking and stairs
  • Window bar removal
  • Side and rear building façades where improvements will serve to remove blight
Examples of activities generally not eligible:
  • Landscaping
  • Non-visible roofing
  • Attached, hanging or projecting signs unrelated to the architecture of the building
  • Mechanical equipment enclosures (nonvisible)
  • Parking lots
  • Billboards
  • Interior renovation
  • Temporary, portable or non-permanent improvements
  • New construction
  • Property acquisition
  • Expansion of building area
  • Conversion of use
  • Working capital
  • Refinance of existing debt
  • Payment of delinquent taxes
  • Improvements in progress or completed prior to grant approval
  • Utility/trash enclosures
  • Structural repair
  • Professional fees

Eligible Area: The eligible area is the Town of Lexington Main Street Corridor highlighted in yellow and other Downtown areas highlighted in green.

Screen Shot 2022-09-14 at 1.52.05 PM


Applications will be scored and awarded based on the strength of proposals, readiness to begin work, and funding availability. 

The review committee is the Town of Lexington Board of Appearance.

Scoring Criteria for the Façade Grants

How are projects selected for funding?

The Town of Lexington Board of Appearance will evaluate applications for eligibility and how effectively they meet the program criteria. Specifically, a project application will be scored on how well it meets each of the program criteria. A total point score will be based on the sum of the ratings. 

The criteria are as follows: 

Visual Impact 

Maximum Score of 40 Points
  • Overall impact of the project on the Downtown Business District.
  • Are inappropriate design elements removed?
  • Will the project eliminate what was previously a liability for the commercial district?
  • Does the project seek to restore the historical or architectural significance of the building?
  • Improvements apply to more than one 25-foot wide bay on one façade
  • Improvements will create more visual significance because: 1. key, highly visual elements of the building are being improved 2. the building is prominently visible due to its location (e.g., it serves as a focal point from a street, is at a prominent intersection, or is larger than other buildings around it)

Financial Impact

Maximum Score 25 Points
  • Projects that leverage more private investment will be graded higher than those seeking just the grant funding.
  • The project includes improvements being made to 1. Ensure public safety, 2. Establish or preserve the building’s structural integrity 3. Correct other serious safety issues

Extent of Improvements

Maximum Score 20 Points
  • Degree of visual improvement the proposed project will bring to the storefront and the streetscape
  • Design Consistency/Compatibility with the standards/guidelines as follows: Consistency with the Town of Lexington listed code of ordinance under Title XV – Chapter 160 - Architectural and Appearance Standards. These guidelines address building alterations as well as signs and awnings.

Historic Design

Maximum Score 15 Points
  • Project includes historically appropriate materials and restoration techniques
  • Project goes beyond basic rehabilitation and re-establishes a more historically accurate appearance than other projects


All applicants must contact the Town of Lexington for guidance prior to developing plans for repair/rehabilitation.

Applicants are required to include architectural color schemes, specifications of the proposed façade improvements and if available, architectural drawings as part of their application. 


Applicants are encouraged to use in-town and minority-owned businesses.


1. All work must be done in accordance with any applicable design guidelines, and all applicable local, state, and federal codes, rules, and regulations. Any renovation work undertaken prior to the Town's final written authorization to begin construction is not eligible for assistance under the program. All renovation work undertaken in conjunction with the façade improvement program exceeding the approved financial assistance will be the responsibility of the applicant. 

2. All records supporting the costs and components of program-assisted improvements shall be maintained for a period not less than three (3) years following completion of the program agreement period, agreement termination, or default, whichever shall first occur.


Reimbursements - All assistance is on a reimbursement basis following completion of the project. The total reimbursement for all forms of façade improvement assistance shall not exceed $10,000 per project. Applicants who qualify for funding must document all expenditures and provide the program administrator with proof of payment (receipts, paid invoices, etc.) for all eligible improvements within 30 days of completion. Work must be completed within 180 days of the award. Once construction is complete, the program administrator will visit the project to ensure that it complies with the approved plans. The applicant will then be provided with a one-time reimbursement for the approved amount. Reimbursement checks will be issued by the Town of Lexington. 

1. Default - A recipient shall be considered in default and the balance of financial assistance immediately due and payable upon failure to properly maintain the façade after improvements are completed, delinquent property taxes, or failure to operate in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal codes, laws, and regulations. 

2. Remedies of Default - The Town may take whatever action at law, or in equity, as may appear necessary or desirable to collect any outstanding balance or to enforce the performance and observation of any other obligation or agreement of the recipient.