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Façade Improvement Program

IX. Implementation and Financing

  1. Façade Improvement Program
  2. The City of El Segundo, through a Façade Improvement Program, could provide no or low interest loans, grants, and/or matching funds to eligible property owners and tenants to upgrade the appearance of storefronts/building facades in order to help create a positive retail environment in Downtown El Segundo. Loans would have to be repaid to the City, grants would not be repaid, and matching funds could be a combination of loans or grants.

    Improving and upgrading building facades with Downtown, especially in the Downtown core (the Main Street District), is one of the important goals of this Specific Plan. The Façade Improvement Program seeks to bring new life to existing buildings, which do not conform to the Design Standards of this Specific Plan or are in need of a "facelift." By assisting property owners to upgrade the appearance of their buildings, the aesthetic environment of Downtown is enhanced, thus improving the economic climate for all merchants and the City as a whole.

    To qualify, the building must be located in the Downtown Specific Plan area. New construction is not eligible for assistance. Buildings in the Main Street and Richmond Street Districts will be given priority. Buildings with existing multiple ground floor storefronts/businesses are eligible for more than one loan, grant or match. Applicants must be at a minimum both the business owner and the property owner. If a storefront is vacant, the property owner may be sole applicant.

    A copy of the lease must be submitted with the application. The lease period should be at least two years from the date of the application. For those applicants that do not have an executed lease of a minimum of two years from the date of the application, the property owner may apply for loan funds if the property owner enters into an agreement with the current tenant not to raise rents more than 5% per year for a two year period from the date the storefront agreement is executed (where no lease currently exists) or for the time remaining in the two year period (when a lease is in effect) in order to receive a loan, grant or matching funds.

    Applicants must verify that there are no code enforcement violations on the property. Any violations must be resolved prior to execution of the loan agreement.

    If applicants have previously received business loans from the City, the payback of the loans must be up to date in order to be eligible for the Façade Improvement Program.

    The tenant, the property owner, and the City will sign a contract before an applicant is eligible to receive loan funds. The applicant may not begin any work before the contract is approved and signed by the City, and any required permits are obtained.

    Types of improvements which are eligible with loan, grant or matching funds are:

    • painting of entire building façade and sides of building visible from streets and alleys (all painted surfaces are required to be repainted)
    • awnings
    • marquees
    • parapet walls
    • doors
    • windows
    • arcade/canopy façade and display window lighting
    • landscaping
    • tile
    • pavement between door and sidewalk
    • signs
    • other façade improvements approved by the City
    • Seismic retrofitting (structural upgrade) only on recognized historic masonry buildings.

    All improvements must be approved by the City and must be consistent with this Specific Plan. Maintenance type improvements such as roofing, plumbing, and general structural (not seismic) upgrade improvements are not eligible for loans, grants, or matching funds. All interior improvements (except display window lighting) are ineligible.

    No or low-interest loans, grants or matching funds may be made to eligible applicants to improve building facades. The repayment of the loans shall be made in accordance with the requirements established by the City Council. Matching funds require that the recipient invest an equal amount in improvement efforts, matching the City’s investment.

    Applicants are to designate one person who will be the applicant’s contact person for this project. The contact person notifies all other applicants of the time and date for design meetings. All improvements must be approved in advance by the Department of Community, Economic and Development Services and the Planning Commission if a Historic building (cultural resource) is involved. Applicants of multiple storefronts within a building are encouraged to work together to receive one set of bids for an entire building. This will reduce the cost per storefront. The applicant is to receive two written bids from licensed contractors to construct the work. All work must be constructed by contractors licensed by the State of California. The applicant selects the contractor and is responsible for completing any agreements with the contractor for all improvements. Applicants are responsible for obtaining bids, selecting a contractor, and executing agreements with contractors. City staff will not provide assistance in obtaining bids, however, a list of qualified contractors may be provided.

    Painted buildings (which need repainting) with approved colors are required to be repainted under this program as the first improvement funded with loan, grant or matching funds. After painting, other eligible improvements can be funded with remaining funds.

    The façade improvement program could be financed through General Fund monies, bonds, or a Business Improvement District.

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