Facade Improvements BIG Grant

Downtown businesses along Hopkins Street at night

About the Grant

The Façade Improvement BIG Grant provides technical and financial assistance to restore exterior facades, signage, lighting, and life-safety systems for commercial buildings. The City will provide a fifty percent matching grant to reimburse up to $20,000 of well-designed property improvements. An additional fifty percent matching grant to reimburse up to $5,000 for construction of monument-type signage or the removal and replacement of non-conforming signs. The applicant’s match may be in the form of other financial aid (grant or loan) received from other agencies or financial institutions, but may not be “in-kind.”

The BIG Grant Program will only reimburse applicants after the project is determined to have been completed in accordance with the contract and the applicant has paid his/her architect, contractor and vendor(s) in full.

Improvements funded by the program must be compatible with the character and architecture of the individual property, and must meet current City standards with regard to occupant safety. Historical or architecturally significant features shall be restored and maintained. Improvements to properties without such features should be seen as an opportunity to substantially enhance the appearance of the properties and adjacent streetscapes. Properties should be oriented to the pedestrian and provide visual interest both day and night. Effort should be made to promote accessibility and to create a property identity unique to San Marcos or the respective neighborhood.

Eligible Improvements

  • Restoration of exterior details in historically contributing or significant buildings, and removal of elements that conceal architectural details, including cleaning, repainting or residing of building;

  • New storefront construction, appropriately scaled within an existing building, that is in substantial conformance with all applicable provisions of the San Marcos Land Development Code;

  • Awnings or canopies in character with the building and streetscape;

  • Lighting that is visually appealing and appropriately illuminates signage, storefront window displays, and recessed areas of a building façade;

  • Window replacement and window framing visible from the street and appropriately scaled to the building;

  • Signage that is attractively integrated into the architecture of the building, including the window area, awnings or canopies, and entryways, and the removal and replacement of non-conforming signs;

  • Installation of monument signage, and the removal and replacement of non-conforming signs;

  • Curbing, irrigation, approved trees, landscaping beds (not including planting material) or other landscape features attached to the building where appropriate, not to exceed twenty percent (20%) of the project budget;

  • Removal of architectural barriers to public accessibility;

  • Installation of fire sprinklers or other life-safety systems in historically or architecturally significant buildings; and

  • Other improvements that meet the objectives of the BIG Grant Program

Please review the BIG Grant guidelines prior to submitting your application.