TIF District Façade & Building Improvement Grant

Program Description - What is the purpose?

The purpose of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District Façade and Building Improvement Grant Program is to provide financial assistance for the design and construction of façade improvements which are in keeping with the Village Comprehensive Plan

The program is also intended to provide financial assistance for capital improvement projects completed in conjunction with a façade improvement project. 

This program is a public/private partnership designed to provide incentives and assistance to encourage building improvements that preserve the character of the Village and that help create a human scale and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere within the Village as well as address factors that qualified the District as a “conservation area.” 

How does the grant program work?

Projects must be approved for participation in the program before the work begins.  The procedure for review and approval is as follows:

  1. Confirm with the Village staff that the property is in a TIF district, and that the type of project is eligible.  See details on this page and in the grant application.
  2. Obtain estimates from contractors for your project.
  3. Work with contractors and/or architect to develop plans to illustrate the proposed work.
  4. Submit grant applicant and application for Site Plan and Appearance Review (available on the Forms and Permits page).
  5. Façade Grant Committee reviews the application to make a recommendation for a grant award to the Village Board.
  6. Plan Commission approves the Site Plan and Appearance Review application.
  7. Village Board votes to approve a specific amount for the grant.
  8. Obtain necessary permits and complete the work as approved.
  9. Pay contractors for the work.  
  10. Submit proof of payment for reimbursement by the Village. 

Program Funding

The program is funded with revenues generated from the Village’s TIF District(s).

Eligibility Factors

Applicants may be the owner of an eligible building(s) or the owner of a new or existing retail business within the District. (For the purpose of this program, retail business shall include all retail uses permitted under the zoning ordinance for the applicable zoning district.) A retail tenant’s eligibility is subject to written consent of the building owner for all proposed improvements. To be eligible for consideration, a project must comply with the following requirements:  

  • The property must be in a TIF District.
  • The project must be for façade or signage renovation, restoration or improvements.
  • Any capital improvement must be done in conjunction with an aesthetic improvement (see Terms below).
  • The project must meet all building code and zoning ordinance requirements, including applicable design review.
  • No financial support shall be given to a retail entity initiating operations in the redevelopment project area while terminating operations at another Illinois location within ten miles of the redevelopment project area but outside the Village, as provided in the Village’s TIF Redevelopment Project and Plan.

Expenses Eligible for Grant Funding

The objective of the program is to encourage exterior improvements that preserve and enhance the character of the Village consistent with the concepts identified in the Village Comprehensive Plan, and address factors that qualified the District as a “conservation area.” As such, expenditures relating to the following types of improvements and related services are considered qualifying:

  • Design professional fees and Plan Commission process fees,
  • Aesthetic and structural façade improvements, and
  • Signage renovations/improvements.

Additionally, the following capital improvements may qualify as eligible expenses provided the grant award for capital improvements does not exceed $10,000 and a minimum of 25% of the total grant award is applied to aesthetic improvements: 

  • Fire suppression system upgrades,
  • Grease trap installation,
  • New or replacement landscaping,
  • Parking lot resurfacing/reconstruction, and
  • Other improvements may be considered provided that all eligibility factors and program terms are satisfied.

Selection Process

The Façade and Building Improvement Grant Selection Committee, comprised of Village Staff, will review and evaluate all applications for grant funding. The appearance review by the Plan Commission shall be completed prior to the review of the grant request by the Village Board. After the appearance review is completed, the Selection Committee will make a recommendation for funding to the Board of Trustees. The following criteria will be considered by the Board in determining the final award amount for a particular grant request:
  • Condition of building façade and signage and need for renovation.
  • Extent to which proposed improvements address appearance factors that qualified the TIF District as a “conservation area.”
  • Extent to which proposed improvements restore, maintain or enhance the aesthetic character of the district.
  • Extent to which the improvements are eligible for the program.
  • Projected impact on the value of the subject property, especially with respect to the value of the particular improvement for a future occupant of the unit or building.


Applications (PDF) will be reviewed in the month following their receipt (i.e. January applications will be reviewed in February.)


The terms of the program are as follows:
  • The improvements must be completed within 12 months from the date of the grant approval. The grant must be approved before work begins (see “How does the grant program work?” at the top of this page).
  • Grants are issued in the form of reimbursements after eligible expenses are incurred (receipts or other acceptable proof of payment are required).
  • Reimbursement is limited to a maximum of 50% of verified eligible expenses.
  • Maximum grant amount to be awarded to a single project under the program is $50,000 (50% of $100,000 of verified eligible expenses). The Selection Committee may recommend grant amounts that are less than 50% of verified eligible expenses.
  • The amount of the grant award for a capital improvement may not exceed $10,000.
  • A minimum of 25% of the grant award must be applied to an aesthetic improvement.
  • The program may not be used by the same applicant to renovate the same store front (tenant space) more than once.
  • The current annual funding for the program is $50,000 per TIF district and is subject to adjustment in conjunction with the Village’s budget process.
  • Failure to abide by the terms and conditions of this program or any other Village of Wheeling TIF program in which the applicant is participating will result in forfeiture of program funding. In the event of a default by the applicant, the Village of Wheeling reserves the right to require repayment of any grant funds disbursed to the applicant.