City Establishes Change in Use Incentive Grant Program to Encourage Use of Existing Downtown Buildings as Restaurants

dsc_0023At the Wednesday night City Council meeting, Council authorized a new grant program for 2017 that is aimed at assisting business owners in downtown who want to open restaurants in buildings that were previously used for other purposes. The Change in Use Incentive Grant Pilot Program seeks to maintain and enhance the vitality of downtown and encourage the reuse of existing buildings as restaurants by funding 25% of the sewer service plant investment fee (PIF).  A significant cost to change the use of a building from office or retail to restaurant is the sewer service plant investment fee. The pilot grant program will award up to a maximum of $10,000 per business.

A goal of the City’s 2014 Economic Development Plan is to support existing businesses with business improvement and/or expansion initiatives. The creation of a Change in Use Incentive Grant Pilot Program is one such initiative.

The Comprehensive Plan recognizes the importance of maintaining and enhancing a strong downtown as being essential for the area’s regional economy. Goal 4 of the Plan supports “the continued development of the downtown area of the City Center into a vibrant and growing area with jobs, housing and tourist attractions.” In addition, Goal 6 encourages “preservation of historic buildings and their appropriate reuse.”

Due to changing market conditions, downtown Grand Junction is following the trends of downtowns throughout the country from a predominantly retail business environment to an entertainment district, with more of a mix of restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues. As that change occurs, it is important to be able to reuse the historic building stock for new uses.

Business owners interested in obtaining more information on the grant program can contact Community Development Manager Kathy Portner at 970-244-1420 or kathyp@gjcity.org.

Contact: Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager   970-244-1507

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