The City of Lenoir values the commercial buildings in Historic Downtown Lenoir and offers incentive grants to provide assistance with the improvement and rehabilitation of downtown properties. The Building Upgrades and Improvements for Lenoir Downtown (BUILD) Program was created to provide matching grants to encourage improvements and/or upgrades to the interior and exterior of downtown buildings to make them more attractive for new, existing, and expanding businesses.
Under the BUILD Program, applicants are eligible for up to 33.33% of the actual improvement costs, up to a maximum $5,000. BUILD applications are accepted on a continual basis and grants will be awarded based on goals adopted by the Lenoir Business Advisory Board and the Lenoir City Council. Grants will be awarded depending on the availability of funds.
Contact Downtown Economic Development at 828-757-4490, or email Kaylynn Horn for an application.
Eligible properties are those located in the Municipal Service Tax District (MSD).
Commercial property owners inside the MSD are eligible applicants. Business owners leasing commercial space within the MSD are eligible applicants. Business owners leasing property must have a minimum of two years remaining on the lease. Nonprofit entities are not eligible applicants.
The BUILD grants have a matching requirement. Applicants are required to invest two dollars for every one dollar of grant funding received. BUILD grants will pay for 33.33% (thirty-three and one third %) of any approved building improvement or rehabilitation project.
The maximum award for each grant is $5,000. The minimum grant award is $500.
Eligible improvements include, but are not necessarily limited to:
The following improvements are interior, inside the house:
- Accessibility improvements for handicapped persons
- Energy conservation improvements
- Electrical work, including service upgrades
- Fire alarm systems
- Fire sprinkler system installation or upgrade, including any needed water service improvements
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Restoration of historic interior architectural features, including ceilings, light fixtures, floors and architectural detailing
- Tenant improvements for a new, expanding or relocated business utility service upgrades, including water and sewer
The following improvements are for the exterior of the building:
- Labor Costs, except for applicants serving as their own contractor
- Masonry work
- Materials Costs
- Repair and replacement of signs and awnings
- Repair and restoration of architectural detail, including painting and cleaning
- Window repair
Projects and expenses such as the following are not eligible:
- Building or land acquisition
- Design services, including architectural and interior design
- Emergency or safety-related demolition expenses
- Flood or water damage repairs
- Furnishings, equipment or personal property not affixed to the real estate
- Legal fees
- Maintenance work (i.e. general repairs that maintain existing conditions)
- Parking lot resurfacing
- Pest extermination
- Work proposed on property with an active code compliance citation
- Work begun prior to application submittal or done without a required building permit
Build Grant Program Design Guidelines
Applicants will also need to refer and adhere to the Build Grant Program Design Guidelines. The Design Guidelines are listed on a separate document accompanying these Program Guidelines.
The Lenoir Business Advisory Board (LBAB) and Downtown Economic Development Director administer the program. All grants must be submitted to the Downtown Economic Development Director, and the Director will present the applications to the LBAB Grant Committee for consideration.
LBAB has formed a Grant Committee to conduct the initial review of all applications. Applications approved by the Grant Committee will be presented to the full LBAB for final approval. Once applicants receive LBAB approval, they can begin their projects. Complete grant request applications will be considered for approval in order of date received by the Downtown Economic Development Director.
All work involved with the BUILD Grant project must be completed by licensed contractors. Applicants with the appropriate licenses may serve as their own contractor, but only the cost of materials will be considered eligible expenses to be funded by the grant.
Applicants will be reimbursed after the LBAB Grant Committee reviews and approves of the completed project. Grant reimbursements will be based on the actual costs of the project. Applicants must submit all receipts and paid invoices prior to receiving grant funds. In addition, upon completion of the project, project completion photos will be submitted and an invitation to visit the completed project site will be scheduled prior to receiving grant funds.