Man on ladder repairing white ceiling

Basic Up-fit and Eligibility Info FAQ


Jump To:

 
Grant Uses Types of Projects Types of Interior Improvements

Improving, renovating, and/or adding to the interior of a commercial property can be funded with Raleigh Building Up-Fit grant program if you qualify. 

Below are several commonly asked questions regarding the eligibility requirements of the up-fit grant. 

Grant Uses

What is the Building Up-fit Grant?
The Building Up-fit Grant is for commercial property improvement projects. The projects must create a new business use and/or add value to a decayed, empty, or underused commercial building. The Building Up-fit Grant is for small businesses to increase economic development, tax base expansion, and job creation.

Who is this grant intended for?
The grant is for small business owners with 49 employees or less. The business must be located within the city limits of Raleigh. The grant is for business owners to improve their space in a manner consistent with City policy objectives.

What kinds of projects are covered by the Building Up-fit Grant?
The program includes projects that focus on the building's interior. Capital improvements that are associated with a change in use like new HVAC, electrical, lighting, plumbing, structural, interior construction, flooring, restrooms are also included. Accessibility and energy-efficient upgrades, and other applicable code requirements are allowed.

What kinds of projects are not covered by the Building Up-fit Grant?
Projects that do not change the use of the space or add significant value to the property are excluded. Common examples of exclusions would include:

  • Routine like-for-like maintenance replacements for old worn-out equipment
  • Simple redecorating without new business use or functionality
  • Exterior window or door like-for-like replacements
  • Custom signs or awnings
  • Personal property purchases (portable appliances, furniture, throw rugs, etc.)
  • Purchases unrelated to a construction project such as retail items or other merchandise that will be for sale.

What qualifies as “change of use”?
Every situation is different. Essentially, you are creating new functionality and significant new value for a commercial space with your proposed up-fit project. Examples include:

  • Turning an abandoned decayed building into a modern professional office space
  • Turning an old warehouse into a new restaurant
  • Turning underutilized spaced into a light industrial use
  • Turning a tired old office into a new retail boutique
  • Modifying and equipping generic commercial space to accommodate specialty manufacturing
  • Expanding into, and activating an adjacent vacant space
  • Activating an empty space, including new partitions and restrooms, that creates a change in use
  • Turning storage space into an active part of your retail display floor or showroom
  • Accommodate higher value commercial activity that creates new building value, by increasing utility capacity.

What does not qualify as a “change of use”? 
Every situation is different. Here are some examples that would have trouble getting through the process: 

  • Painting an orange restaurant so it becomes a purple restaurant. 
  • Ordinary wear-and-tear maintenance: doing a like-for-like replacement to refresh old carpet, old sink, old HVAC, etc. 

 

Types of Projects

Can I use the Building Up-fit Grant for patios or murals? 
No, the Building Up-fit Grant program focuses on building interiors. In some cases, a business may qualify for help with exterior or façade improvements, by using the City of Raleigh’s Façade Rehabilitation Program.

If I receive a Building Up-fit Grant for the inside work, am I allowed to also get a Façade Rehabilitation Grant from the City, for the outside project work? 
The Building Up-fit Grant program can sometimes work in tandem with the Façade Rehabilitation Grant. Some business owners may be able to qualify for both grants. There are differences in coverage areas and other details. We recommend you check the Façade program page for more information.

Can I use this program to help build a new building?
No, this grant program is for improving and bringing new use to existing commercial properties in the City of Raleigh.

Are building owners eligible for this grant?
Applicants must occupy the space being upgraded. This includes small businesses that lease their workspace (for a minimum 3-year term), as well as small businesses that own their workspace. Owners without a physical presence at the property, or absentee landlords, are not eligible for this grant.

What if my business is located outside of the city of Raleigh?
Businesses must be located inside the city of Raleigh to be eligible. Applications from outside the city limits will not be considered.

I received a grant last year and completed my up-fit project. Can I apply for another grant for a new up-fit project? 
No. Business owners may only be awarded one Building Up-fit Grant award within a 3-year period. 

I applied for a grant last time, but I was not selected for grant award. Can I apply again this time? 
Yes. If you were not awarded the grant, you may apply again. 

I am in a shopping center where some of my neighbors have already used a Building Up-fit Grant. Can I apply for one, too? 
It depends. Only two Building Up-fit Grants are allowed per commercial property (includes multi-tenant business locations) in a one-year period.

Can I use the Building Up-fit Grant for work on a residential property? 
No. The Building Up-fit Grant is only for commercial property up-fit projects. For any questions about program eligibility for special cases (for example Mixed Use zoning), please contact our office.

Types of Interior Improvements

Projects that focus on the building's interior are covered by the Building Up-fit Grant. Capital improvements that are associated with a change in use like new:

  • HVAC
  • electrical
  • lighting
  • plumbing
  • structural
  • interior construction 
  • flooring
  • restrooms
  • accessibility and energy-efficient upgrades
  • other applicable code requirements

Projects that do not change the use of the space or add significant value to the property are excluded. Common examples of exclusions would include:

  • Routine like-for-like maintenance replacements for old worn-out equipment
  • Simple redecorating without new business use or functionality
  • Exterior window or door like-for-like replacements
  • Custom signs or awnings
  • Personal property purchases (portable appliances, furniture, throw rugs, etc.)
  • Purchases unrelated to a construction project such as retail items or other merchandise that will be for sale.

Contact

 

Mark Weldon
Business Retention & Expansion Manager
919-996-3139

Department:
Community and Economic Development
Service Categories:
Small Business Support
Related Services:
Building Up-fit GrantStarting a New BusinessMinority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE)

Subscribe

 

Related Projects

  All projects