Facade Grant Application

Click button above for application form



Downtown Pontiac has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1818 on the headwaters of the Clinton River.  The town eventually became known for its automobile industry and became the seat of Oakland County.  

Main Street Pontiac is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Pontiac’s Downtown District. Its board comprises residents, business owners, and major stakeholders in the Pontiac community.

The ethos of the Main Street program is economic development through historic preservation. Therefore, an essential part of downtown revitalization is preserving and maintaining the historic buildings for which downtown Pontiac is known. Preservation of Pontiac’s downtown buildings protects its rich history and celebrates its diversity of architectural styles.

An important concept in the Main Street philosophy is that the idea of design is an integral element for the revitalization of a place. Good design is essential to generating an aesthetic quality within your downtown that drives its sense of place. It dictates the tone of the relationships between spaces and the people that engage with them. It affects foot traffic, economic vitality, and the overall identity of your town. Downtowns with remarkable design qualities are known for their  distinctiveness and prominent sense of place.


Main Street Pontiac seeks to maintain and improve quality of life for its citizens and business owners by fostering an economically viable and visually appealing commercial district. To help reach this goal, Main Street Pontiac has established a Façade Grant Program to reimburse applicants for approved façade work on downtown buildings. Approved applicants shall be reimbursed 50% of the eligible costs of façade work up to $10,000 upon completion of the project.


  • To maintain high-quality design standards by investing in existing building stock that contributes to an exciting and inspiring downtown experience for residents and visitors.
  • To assist in the maintenance and preservation of Downtown Pontiac’s buildings to safeguard property values and support an attractive downtown where businesses would like to locate.
  • To contribute to a unique sense of place that helps promote the downtown district.


  • The program will be administered by the Main Street Pontiac Board of Directors and will offer financial assistance to commercial property owners and business owners seeking to renovate or restore the exterior of their buildings.
  • Applications will be selected by the Main Street Pontiac Board of Directors and must be based on meeting the objectives of the program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for the calendar year or until the allocated funds have been exhausted for the fiscal year.
  • Funding for façade projects will be paid via reimbursement of completed work. Only after the applicant has paid for the work will the applicant be reimbursed for the granted dollar amount.

Grant funding will be allocated to façade work (including windows and signage) in the form of 50/50 matching grants to business and property owners with a maximum grant funding request not to exceed $10,000.


  • Application completed and signed.
  • An informal sketch or architectural rendering of the proposed improvement(s).
  • Any proposed paint, awning, samples, etc.
  • Pictures of existing façade and proposed improvement areas.
  • A current price quote for the proposed project from either an architect or licensed contractor/vendor.
  • Designs for signage on the building.

Any costs incurred by the applicant in obtaining the drawing and quote shall be the sole responsibility of the applicant. If the applicant meets all building code requirements (as confirmed by the City’s building department) he/she may perform the work themselves. For those applicants wishing to make the façade improvements themselves, the grant will cover ONLY the cost of building materials necessary for the approved façade improvement project. The applicant shall be responsible for submitting actual/original receipts of materials purchased prior to grant funds being released. 


  • Any property/building owner, or business owner owner/tenant with written authorization from the property owner can apply for funding assistance. Funds may not be disbursed until receipts of payment is submitted and all applicable permits are finalized and inspections approved.
  • All proposed projects must follow the current City of Pontiac codes, including but not limited to: building codes, property maintenance codes, historical codes, Sign Ordinance, Downtown Design Guidelines, and any applicable zoning codes.
  • This program is for properties located in the downtown district as determined by Main Street Pontiac.
  • Applicants can be property owners or tenants with a minimum of two years remaining on their lease, or have an option to renew their lease with written permission from property owner (include letter with application).
  • Additional criteria may be established by the Main Street Pontiac Board of Directors.


  • Removal of materials which cover original architectural details
  • Repair and/or restoration of original architectural details
  • Replacement of original architectural detail
  • Replacement or repairing brickwork, plaster, or wood siding, including painting, cleaning and repainting.
  • Replacing, repairing, or relocating storefronts, doors, windows, parapets or cornices, including the removal of extraneous
    elements or inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes and materials
  • Window repair or replacement including window framing
  • Repainting and repair of façade
  • Changes of exterior lighting and additional exterior lighting
  • Repairs, addition, or installation of awnings, only when in conjunction of a comprehensive exterior improvement plan.
  • Installation or improvement of permanently installed signage, only when in conjunction of a comprehensive exterior
    improvement plan. Signage must be a permanent installed feature of the façade and may not be portable or removable.

Other improvements can be made if they meet the objectives of the program and have prior written approval from the Main Street Pontiac. The Main Street Pontiac Board exercises sole discretion in the approval of design features, colors, and elements.


The following improvements do not qualify for the Façade Grant Program:

  • Improvements made prior to approval
  • Expenses incurred prior to approval
  • Property acquisition
  • Refinancing of existing debt
  • Inventory, equipment, and/or general business operations expenses (payroll, taxes, utilities, ext.)
  • Sweat equity (payments for applicant’s own labor)
  • Interior rehabilitation unless deemed essential with regard to the building’s façade improvement
  • Interior decoration (i.e. wallpaper, paint, light fixtures, furniture, ext.)
  • Planting or landscaping
  • Loan fees, mortgage/land contract refinance
  • Appraiser, attorney, interior decorator or designer fees
  • Site plan, building or sign permit fees