News Release - Facade Improvement Program Set To Put Fresh Face On Commercial Buildings

News Release - Facade Improvement Program Set To Put Fresh Face On Commercial Buildings

A partnership between the City of Port Alberni and Community Futures Alberni Clayoquot has launched with success over $600,000 in improvements planned for local storefronts.  

The Façade Improvement Program is a new program designed to assist property and business owners with improving the physical appearance of their buildings and, as a result, enhance the overall aesthetics and profitability of commercial areas. 

The program was developed following a survey of the Port Alberni business community in 2015 that indicated many entrepreneurs wanted to make improvements to their commercial buildings.  With the City’s interest in supporting existing businesses, and attracting new ones, a partnership approach was developed to provide an incentive for building improvements that make our streets more interesting and appealing.    

City Council allocated $50,000 to the program through the City’s Economic Development Department.  This was leveraged with an additional $100,000 contribution from the Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot who became full partners in the program through its development and delivery.  In addition to offering lending services for applicants, Community Futures also covered the costs for architect fees for each proposed improvement to ensure design consistency.

“The partnership with Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot has been critical to this program and its success,” said Pat Deakin, Economic Development Manager. “With their support we’ve been able to develop a comprehensive program to meet our objectives and, most importantly, those of local businesses in providing incentives, advice and professional services to ensure their full participation and benefit.”          

The program encourages commercial building owners to invest in façade renovations and storefront upgrades by providing matching grants to cover a portion of renovation costs. The program provides reimbursement of up to 50% of the cost of eligible renovations, to a maximum of $5,000 per building. Corner buildings with two street-facing facades are eligible for up to $7,500 in matching grants with an additional $1,000 for buildings located in three priority areas: upper 3rd Avenue, lower Argyle Street and lower Johnston Road.  

Twenty-six buildings with improvements totaling over $600,000 are in the process of being approved and the first of the projects has been completed with positive feedback from the building owner, tenants and the community.  

“Revitalization of commercial districts often begins with improvements to a single building or storefront,” said Mayor Mike Ruttan.  “With over two dozen buildings participating this year, this program is paving the way for a significant renewal of our core commercial neighbourhoods.”

The program is a win-win-win for building owners, the City and Community Futures by helping to attract and retain tenants, promote the marketability of business districts, building civic pride, making our streets a more inviting place to visit and shop and increasing business revenues.    

Building improvements will be ongoing over the next 6 months as projects get underway.     


For more information:

Patrick Deakin, Manager of Economic Development

City of Port Alberni