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Up-fit Grant Application FAQ

Learn about the Building Up-fit Grant

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Getting Started Application Level 2 and Documentation Qualifying Project Definitions

Are you a business or commercial property owner interested in applying for an interior renovation grant but want to understand more about the process? The list below is frequently asked questions about the application process.

Getting Started

Everything you need to know about the steps and requirements to begin the application process.

When is the next application period? 
The application period is only open quarterly. Visit the Building Up-fit Grant program page for a schedule.

Is this a “First Come – First Served” system? 
No. There is a defined application period that runs for several weeks. Then, vetted applications are reviewed all at one time as a group. This way everyone has a fair shot.

How does the Application Process work?
Our review process involves an initial application review. Only qualified applicants can then move on for final consideration. 

Step  Information 
Step 1   Complete online Level-1 Application Form, with basic information about your business and the proposed project. Staff will reviews application to make sure it meets guidelines.
Step 2  Once you pass the initial review, you'll be invited to complete a more detailed Level-2 Application with project plans and supporting documents.
Step 3 Qualified applications will then head to a Committee Review. Finalists are prioritized following an objective points system. Award recipients are then selected.

What makes the Level-2 Application Form different from the Level-1 Application Form?
The Level-2 Application Form captures more detail about the project and supporting information. This includes a written project description/narrative. It also helps the Review Committee better understand the goals of the project. One critical outcome of this step is to use contractor quotes and estimates. This provides a more realistic estimated cost of your proposed up-fit project.

How hard is it to complete the online basic Level-1 Application?
Most people can complete the online Level-1 Application in a matter of minutes. Others may need more time to gather some basic information. In most cases, this online application should take no more than about 30 minutes to complete.

How do I get started with the application process?
During the application period, you will find a link on our website for an online application. This is the Level-1 Application. To receive program announcements, subscribe to the Economic Development and Innovation distribution list. You can also follow us on twitter @Raleigh4u.

What can I do while I am waiting for the next application cycle to open?
This is the time to plan your project. Get quotes, architectural drawings, and other details of your up-fit project from licensed contractors. This demonstrates that you are ready to begin your project if awarded funding. 

Application Level 2 and Documentation

Once you pass the initial application review process, you will need to provide additional documentation for the review committee. Here's answers to some commonly asked documentation questions. 

How hard is it to complete the Level-2 Application?
Before completing a Level-2 application, you must first pass the initial review stage. The Level-2 Application usually takes more time because it involves more project details like diagrams, cost estimates, and other supporting information. The amount of time for this part will depend on how much project planning is ready for evaluation. It is not uncommon for applicants to take several days before returning their completed Level-2 Application. 

What additional documentation do you need to submit with the Level-2 Application?
This step provides the next layer of detail behind each application. Examples of required documents include:

  • Lease/Letter of Intent, and Landlord notification (for commercial tenants)
  • Detailed project description
  • Contractor quotes for proposed work
  • Drawings
  • Photos of the current building condition
  • Property tax (for the property where funds will be utilized) and NCDOR sales tax confirmation
  • Other documentation may be required for special situations

If my project is selected for Committee Review, how hard is it to get the extra documentation needed?
This part of the application process can be very involved. You will have a couple of weeks to pull your documents together. Most applicants can provide everything in that time frame. Keep in mind that some things may be out of your control, like scheduling contractors for estimates, or getting project drawings from an Architect (if applicable). The sooner you can get these conversations going, the better.

What if I am not ready to submit my documentation? 
If it looks like there is no way to assemble everything you will need it is recommended that you wait until the next application cycle. This allows you to be better prepared, you’ll avoid hasty (or expensive) planning decisions, and you’ll improve your probability of success. View upcoming application schedules.

Qualifying Project Definitions

When you go to fill out your online application, you may have some questions about the fields and definitions. Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions.

How do I know if my business qualifies as a retail space? 
Retailing should be the dominant use of the business and the planned project space.

What kinds of goods qualify as retail?
From the original grant program policy, and current UDO Section, retail would include: Antiques, appliances, art supplies, baked goods, bicycles, books, building supplies, cameras, carpet and floor coverings, crafts, clothing, computers, convenience goods, dry goods, electronic equipment, fabric, flowers, fuel (including gasoline and diesel fuel), furniture, garden supplies, gifts or novelties, groceries, hardware, home improvement, household products, jewelry, medical supplies, music, musical instruments, office supplies, package shipping, pets, pet supplies, pharmaceuticals, photo finishing, picture frames, plants, printed materials, produce, seafood, souvenirs, sporting goods, stationery, tobacco, used or secondhand goods, vehicle parts and accessories, videos and related products.

What kinds of businesses would not qualify as retail? 
Some examples would include restaurants, offices, professional or personal services, educational/childcare, medical, and other businesses.

How do I know if my business can qualify as a historic site?
You qualify if your property is designated as a registered historic landmark, or as part of a recognized Historic District in the City of Raleigh. This designation may also be indicated on the Wake County property tax record for the site. You will need to provide documentation. 

Is there anything else I need to know about being in a building or district designated as “historic”?
If you are in a historic district you may need to get approval for any project, especially any work involving the exterior. Often a COA (Certificate of Appropriateness) will be required, after a formal review by the COA Committee of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. Be aware that this process can add time to your project. More information.

How do I know if my project is rehabilitating a deteriorated property?
Your project will be address issues associated with environmental impairments which are hazards that make a space uninhabitable or dangerous. Examples would include lead, asbestos, or mold abatement, and brownfield site remediation. You will need to provide documentation. 

How do I know if my property is subject to ad valorem taxes?
The most common indicator is whether the property is subject to Raleigh/Wake County property tax. Buildings that do not pay property taxes are not eligible for the Building Up-fit Program. The most common exception is for buildings owned by non-profits or government entities. 

My property is subject to Raleigh/Wake property tax, but I am behind on my payments. Am I eligible for the grant?
No. You will need to be current on your Raleigh/Wake tax payments to qualify for this grant program.

What are my chances of being approved for this grant?
It is common that we receive more requests than available funding can cover. Every application cycle is different, and every project is unique. The only 100% guarantee is that if you do not apply, you will not get the grant.

Where can I find more information?
Visit the Building Up-fit Grant program page on our website.

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