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File #: 2018-5988   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 10/16/2018
Title: Recommendation to Expand the Fa?ade Grant Program Boundaries; and Adoption of Resolution Amending the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Base Reuse Fund Budget to Appropriate $50,000 for the Fa?ade Grant Program. (Base Reuse 858)
Attachments: 1. Resolution

Title

Recommendation to Expand the Façade Grant Program Boundaries; and

 

Adoption of Resolution Amending the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Base Reuse Fund Budget to Appropriate $50,000 for the Façade Grant Program. (Base Reuse 858)

Body

To:                                          Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From:                                          David L. Rudat, Interim City Manager

                                          

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The City of Alameda’s Façade Grant Program (the “Program”) provides matching grants to businesses and property owners for the completion of façade improvements. Under the current Program, eligible commercial properties must be located in specific geographic areas, including Alameda’s business districts, historic station areas, and gateways.

 

Staff recommends expanding the Program to include all commercial storefronts in the City, with the exception of shopping centers and office parks. The focus would remain on retail and service businesses, with other business types (non-profit/cultural, office, etc.) considered on a case-by-case basis. This expansion would allow the Program to assist business and property owners at Alameda Point, as well as in locations throughout Alameda that have not previously been considered for funding.

 

In order to assist with the expansion of the program, staff has identified $50,000 (Base Reuse Fund 858) to supplement current Program funds.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The City of Alameda’s Façade Grant Program provides matching grants to businesses and property owners for the completion of façade improvements. The Program generally pays for 50 percent of the cost of approved improvements, but occasionally offers “specials” in which the City pays for 80 percent of the cost of specific types of improvements (such as signage, awnings, etc.).

 

Eligible improvements include exterior painting, new or refurbished signs and awnings, and architectural improvements such as replacement or refurbishment of windows, doors, cornices and/or trim. Grant amounts range from $500 to $15,000, depending on the type of work proposed. Grant applications are reviewed by the Façade Grant Committee, which consists of representatives from the Downtown Alameda, West Alameda and Greater Alameda Business Associations, as well as City staff from the Economic Development and Community Services and Planning divisions.

 

The goals of the Program are to:

 

                     Visually improve storefronts and streetscapes;

                     Enhance prominent business locations;

                     Fill a previously vacant storefront; and

                     Rehabilitate or replace historic features.

 

Under the current Program, commercial properties must be located in one of the following areas to be eligible:

 

                     Webster Street Business District

                     Downtown Alameda Business District

                     Historic Station Areas (Grand, Mastick, Bay, South High St., Chestnut, Morton, Versailles, Willow, Fifth Street, Caroline, High Street North or Stanton)

                     Retail buildings near gateways into Alameda

 

Shopping centers are not eligible for the Program. The Program is currently funded at $125,000 per fiscal year. For the 2018-19 Fiscal Year only, the Program budget includes a one-time funding increase of $75,000.

 

Since 2016, the Program has awarded $375,000 in grant funding to local business and property owners. This funding has leveraged an additional $635,000 in private investment in Alameda’s retail districts.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Historically, façade grant funding has been limited to specific geographic areas. This was intended to maximize the impact of the Program by focusing resources in high profile locations, such as Alameda’s business districts, historic station areas, and gateways. Since 2016, staff has received several requests to expand the program to Alameda Point, and to include other commercial buildings not located in one of the designated Program areas.

 

In response to these requests, and in an effort to better serve all Alameda retail and service businesses, staff recommends expanding the Program to include all commercial storefronts in the City, with the exception of those in shopping centers and office parks. The focus would remain on retail and service businesses, with other business types (non-profit/cultural, office, etc.) considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

This expansion would allow the Program to assist business and property owners at Alameda Point, as well as in locations throughout Alameda that have not previously been considered for funding, such as Ralph’s Market at 801 Lincoln Avenue and Santoro’s Italian Market and Deli at 475 Santa Clara Avenue.

 

In order to assist with the expansion of the Program to Alameda Point, staff has identified $50,000 (Base Reuse Fund 858) to supplement current Program funds.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no impact to the General Fund to expand the Façade Grant Program.  Budget for the current Façade Grant Program is included in the Commercial Revitalization Fund (Fund 227).

 

Per conveyance agreement with the Navy, the proceeds generated from Alameda Point can only be used for specified activities that benefit Alameda Point.  A portion of the Façade Grant Program is estimated to be funded by the Base Reuse Fund for $50,000 and falls within Building Rehabilitation activity as listed in the agreement with the Navy. There are sufficient funds available in the Base Reuse Fund accumulated balance to cover this cost.  A resolution amending the City’s Fiscal Year 2018-19 Budget has been prepared for City Council’s consideration. 

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The recommended action is consistent with the General Plan and the Economic Development Strategic Plan.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. This is not a project and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines, sections 15378 and 15061(b)(3) (General Rule).

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Expand the Façade Grant Program boundaries and adopt a resolution to appropriate additional funding.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Debbie Potter, Base Reuse and Economic Development Director

 

By,

Amanda Gehrke, Management Analyst

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director