Facade Improvement Program

Mayor Sheehan's Small Business Facade Improvement Program
The revitalization of a neglected commercial district or residential neighborhood often begins with improvements to a single building or storefront--which often times stimulates similar improvements in neighboring buildings.

In an effort to help our small businesses (re)invest in their commercial space, Mayor Kathy Sheehan along with Capitalize Albany Corporation and the Albany Community Development Agency (ACDA), created a Citywide Small Business Facade Improvement Program in 2016.  This matching property enhancement grant program gives small businesses and property owners incentive to improve the exterior appearance of their buildings and storefronts.

Among the recipients of the first round of the Program was Downtube Bicycle Works at 466 Madison Ave. In 2015 an upstairs fire significantly damaged its building, forcing the small business to preserve as much as possible and rebuild. With support from the Program, in 2016 Downtube reopened for business. Its garage door was replaced with a new storefront and other exterior improvements such as signage were made. In early 2017, the business expanded and 3Fish Coffee Café featuring unique pastries and light fare was added next door.

In October 2017, the City’s Small Business Facade Improvement Program was renewed for a second year. Click the following link to access the Small Business Facade Improvement Program Application.

Administered by Capitalize Albany Corporation—the City’s economic development organization—the Small Business Facade Improvement Program is made possible through ACDA's neighborhood revitalization grants. The program can provide up to $10,000 in matching funds ($15,000 for corner lots) to small businesses or owners who want to renovate the exteriors of their commercial property. Applications are available for the second round of a matching grant program that helps small businesses throughout the City reinvest in their properties.

Details on eligible improvements can be found in the application. An overview of improvements or renovations  eligible to receive support include decorative or functional improvements such as exterior signs, lighting, windows, awnings, storefronts and entrances, doors, brickwork, painting, repair to decorative details, cornices, correction of code violations, removal of non-historic materials, and upgrades of blighted buildings. Grants can also support renovations to improve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Improvements to interiors or public sidewalks are not eligible improvements.

The Program is not only designed to support and provide critical assistance to small businesses within the City of Albany—guidelines also encourage the creation of low barrier to entry level jobs for City of Albany and Capital Region residents. In an effort to increase employment opportunities for local residents, the City of Albany’s office of Youth & Workforce Services will be available to work with awarded applicants on identifying localized talent for their expanding small businesses.

Contact Information

Capitalize Albany Corporation
21 Lodge St
Albany, NY  12207
Phone: (518) 434-2532
Email:  Development@CapitalizeAlbany.com