Apply for a Facade and Tenant Improvement Program Grant

Small business owners and property owners can apply for up to $75,000 through the City of Oakland’s expanded and updated Facade and Tenant Improvement Program to improve the exterior and interior of their commercial properties.

Online Applications were open December 1, 2022 - January 31, 2023

Do not submit an application if you have already begun construction.

Applicants must sign a grant agreement with the City BEFORE starting construction, in order for those project expenses to be eligible for reimbursement.

Before You Start

Review Key Program Features

Application Resources and FAQs

FTIP Program Steps:

  1. Application Review Phase

    City staff screens all applications received to determine that all the necessary information has been provided, including photos of existing conditions, and a copy of the applicant’s business license. City staff will apply the equity scoring criteria to determine which applications are funded, and will notify selected applicants after the close of the
    application window on January 31, 2023.

  2. Bidding Phase
    • City staff will meet with the applicant to discuss the improvements desired and to reach a consensus on an estimated budget range.
    • The applicant gets estimates for work from at least 3 licensed contractors, or documents effort to solicit 3 bids. If an architect/designer is needed, applicant can substitute one estimate from the architect for the entire project, including design work and construction. As design work need not begin until after the agreement is executed, the estimate may be in the form of a range. Different parts of the project work, such as signage, awnings, or paint, can be separated for bidding and contracting, provided the applicant is committed to coordinating the contractors’ work. Once the contractor(s) is/are selected, said work must then be outlined in the Scope of Work and Budget document (Attachment A).
    • City staff reviews the 3 bids received from the applicant for compliance with the design plans, ensuring no improper substitutions have been made.
    • You can find contractors registered with the City listed here. We request that each estimate includes a statement that the estimate reflects California prevailing wage requirements (see FAQ document here).
  3. Agreement Phase

    Once the applicant is ready to select the contractor(s) and/or architect, they can begin satisfying the prerequisite requirements of the Reimbursement Agreement outlined by the following documents:

    1. Scope of Work and Budget (Attachment A) lists all reimbursable work to be completed with itemized costs
    2. Contractor Requirements (Attachment B) ensures that the contractors are licensed to work in the City of Oakland
    3. Maintenance Standards (Attachment C) holds the grantee to 5 years of maintaining all improvements funded by the program
    4. Schedule Q (Attachment D) describes the Commercial General Liability, Automobile Liability, Worker’s Compensation, and Professional Liability insurance requirements
    5. Schedule O (Attachment E) ensures and prohibits grantees from making campaign contributions during the period specified in the Oakland Campaign Reform Act

    Once the above documents have been provided, reviewed and approved by staff, Applicants sign a Reimbursement Agreement and become a grantee. Expenses incurred after the agreement is signed, provided that they are included in the approved project scope of work, are eligible for reimbursement.

  4. Design Phase
    • If designs are required for the project, the grantee will complete a design proposal. For a FIP project, this would include scale drawings of both the existing and proposed elevations. These will typically include measurements of significant features of the existing and proposed elevations, construction details, specifications for materials and hardware, and specific colors and finishes. The drawings do not constitute construction documents, but in some cases may be sufficient to obtain permits. Additional information may be required to obtain building and any other required permits, all of which are the responsibility of the applicant.
    • City staff will arrange a second meeting with the applicant and the project architect to review the drawings of the suggested improvements and eventually finalize and agree upon the scope of the improvements. One or more alternative designs may be presented at this time, depending on staff recommendation and the type of project. Following this meeting, a finalized design will need to be agreed upon between the applicant and the City staff project manager.
    • If City staff determines that the project is in a location or contains an element that requires Small Project Design Review, the applicant or contractor will need to submit the final design plans to the planning department for approval before moving forward.
  5. Construction and Project Completion Phase
    • Once the design work is complete, the applicant, now grantee, will produce (if they did not prior to the agreement phase) estimates for construction work from at least 3 licensed contractors, or will document effort to solicit 3 bids.
    • The grantee, will hire the contractor(s) and coordinate construction activities with them. City staff will not coordinate contractor work. The grantee will have 30 days to authorize the contractor to begin construction from the date the City signs the Reimbursement Agreement. If the grantee has not authorized the contractor to begin construction within 30 days, the City has the right to terminate the contract and utilize the reserved grants funds for other applicants who
      are ready to proceed.
    • Grantees and their contractors must obtain all appropriate permits (building, sign, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, encroachment, etc.) in accordance with the City’s zoning and building codes prior to construction. Grantees will be responsible for permit fees (other than those related to Small Project Design Review), but those permit fees are eligible for reimbursement.
    • City staff will monitor the work completed by the contractor to ensure that it is done according to the agreed upon final design drawings and specifications. Logistically, this could include a preconstruction meeting and 1-2 field inspections, depending on the size of the project.
    • Once all work is completed, City staff will conduct a final site visit to view the completed improvements to ensure that the agreed upon design has been executed correctly.
    • Once this is done, the grantee and the grantee’s contractor will sign the Application and Certificate for Payment and send it, along with copies of paid invoices, cashed checks, and related bank statements, in order to receive reimbursement.
  6. Maintenance Phase

    As per the Maintenance Standards document (Attachment C), grantees will continuously maintain, at their expense, the improvements made as a result of their FTIP participation for a period of no less than 5 years from the date on which the Reimbursement Agreement was signed.

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