Building Improvement Grant (BIG)

Application Guidelines

  • Applications must be typewritten or printed legibly.
  • Applications must contain all requested information within the application as well as all requested attachments to be considered complete. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Applications not selected for funding during the review cycle in which they were submitted may be resubmitted for consideration during the next available submission period.
  • Applications will be accepted by in-person or mail only and will not be accepted by fax or email.

Business Requirements for Grant

  • The business entity must own the building at the time of application.
  • Proposed projects must be within: the 9th Street Commercial Corridor and the Downtown Development Tier (including Parrish Street), To determine whether a project is within an eligible geographic location, use the mapping tool.
  • The minimum total project capital investment in the Downtown Development Tier must be at least $225,000.

Financial Information Required

  • Disclosure of financing beyond potential public funds, to include documented letters of financial commitment from investors or banks.
  • Development plan for applicant including sources and uses document, balance sheet and operating budget. View the BIG document (PDF) for greater explanation about financial information.

Eligible Expenses for Grant

  • Capital investment improvements must be on an existing building having vacant spaces for the purpose of improving and/or upgrading the interior and exterior, to make the first floor more rentable or "retail/restaurant-ready".
  • Eligible improvements include but are not limited to window replacement, installation of walls, painting, installation of support mechanisms, installation of sound systems, HVAC, electrical systems, plumbing, stairs, demolition, flooring, grease traps and sprinkler system.

Timelines / Disbursement of Funds

  • The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) will review completed applications based on select evaluation criteria including the viability of the project and the need for public funds. Funding requests of $50,000 or greater will be subject to City Council approval. All efforts will be made to evaluate and determine funding requests less than $50,000 within 45 days of the submission deadline.
  • Only funds spent on work performed after City approval of the grant are eligible to be reimbursed.
  • Projects must be completed no later than 18 months after City approval.

Funding Guidelines

  • The eligibility for public incentive payment and the amount of payment would be based upon the likelihood of success of the project and the need for public funds; as determined by a competitive scoring process based upon submitted proposals.
  • The total value of the proposed project cannot exceed $1 million.
  • The Building Improvement Grant maximum award can be $75,000.
  • Funding of any application is subject to availability.
  • Funds will be disbursed by cost reimbursement upon completion of project and submission of appropriate documentation proving compliance with relevant compliance guidelines.

Application Submission

OEWD is not currently taking applications for Building Improvement Grants.

Grant applications, including attachments, must be completed and returned to:
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development
807 E Main Street
Suite 5-100
Durham, NC 27701
Attention: Reginald W. Jones


Application Assistance

Applications will be accepted in-person or by mail only and will not be accepted by fax or email. Technical assistance regarding the grant will be provided up to 1 week before the grant submission deadline. All questions related to the grant should be submitted in writing. Contact Reginald W. Jones