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Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)

Grants to Chicago, Illinois Businesses to Reimburse
Property Improvements in Commercial Corridors

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and SomerCor 504

Deadline Date:

01/14/19 5:00 PM CST


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Grants to Chicago, Illinois small businesses to reimburse costs associated with permanent building improvement projects in designated commercial corridors. Funding may be requested for projects associated with industrial properties, commercial properties, and multi-tenant properties.

Eligible program participants can receive reimbursement grants for qualified permanent building improvements to small business properties located in certain Chicago tax increment financing (TIF) districts.

Eligible expenses for a SBIF grant are permanent building improvement costs associated with commercial and industrial properties, including, but not limited to:

-Mechanical/heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”), electrical, and plumbing
-Tuck pointing and masonry repairs; façade repair/improvement projects
Storefront renovations (new storefront frames, windows, and doors; exterior accent lighting affixed to the building)
-Roof repair and replacement
-Interior remodeling and renovation that is significant in nature (that is, it is done in connection with a larger project that involves HVAC, electrical, or plumbing improvements): framing, drywall, interior doors, restroom renovations, flooring, ceilings (expenses related to a standalone cosmetic upgrade project such as new painting and new flooring not done in connection with other significant work are not eligible; “high-end”/custom fixture and/or finish expenses are not eligible)
-Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers
-Rehabilitation of vacant buildings, but grants are not paid until the improved property is occupied by an eligible small business tenant or tenants
-Purchase of adjacent property for purposes of business expansion or parking (must operate an eligible small business and own the directly adjacent property on which the eligible business operates)
-Structural components of new signage (business-specific parts of signage are not eligible); sign removal
-Certain landscaping improvements to the public way (exterior private property landscaping is not eligible)

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176275

Estimated Size of Grant:

Maximum Grant Program Assistance:
-Industrial Property: $150,000 per property
-Commercial Property: $100,000 per single-tenant property
-Multi-tenant Property: $50,000 per owner/tenant with no more than $250,000 for overall property

An applicant may receive one or more grants for the project property up to the maximum grant program assistance. Once the project property has received the maximum grant program assistance for which the project property is eligible, then no application made for that property shall be eligible for SBIF consideration for three (3) years from the date the reimbursement that reaches the maximum grant program assistance is paid.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Business Requirements:
-Location: Business property must be located in certain Chicago Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts.
-Industrial: One hundred (100) or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
-Commercial: Gross sales under $5,000,000 annually for the prior three (3) years, on average. (Certain business types and organizations are not eligible – please see the SBIF Program Rules for more information.)
-Property Owner/Landlord: Maximum net worth of $6,000,000 with a maximum of $500,000 in liquid assets (excluding industrial applicants who solely occupy their properties).

Please note: These requirements are not exhaustive.

Ineligible expenses for a SBIF grant are costs associated with the following work, including, but not strictly limited to:
-Any work started or construction costs that are incurred (even if work has not started) before approval of a conditional commitment letter by the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development; projects completed outside of the formal grant process (“retroactive” projects)
-Any work done to a non-mixed-use residential property (single-family home, two-flat, three-flat, etc.)
-Any work undertaken to address conditions relating to chronic building code non-compliance pursuant to a court order or injunction
-Improvements to residential components of a mixed-use building (interiors, building systems, porches, stairways, windows, etc.)
-New construction (“ground-up” construction of a new building, vertical additions to existing buildings, expansion of an existing building’s envelope/footprint)
-Work to a building that was originally constructed fewer than three (3) years before the application date
-Exterior private property improvements (landscaping, parking lot work, perimeter fencing, gazebos, patios, etc.)
-Business-specific components of new signage
-Equipment or furniture
-Work to buildings occupied by or leased to certain business types or organizations (taverns, night clubs, liquor stores, currency exchanges, pawn shops, national chain businesses, religious worship space, and others – a detailed list can be found in the SBIF Program Rules).
-Standalone cosmetic upgrade projects such as new painting and new flooring not done in connection with other significant work; minor/routine maintenance items

Pre-Application Information:

This is a reimbursement grant. Grants will be paid after work is completed by the applicant, and proof of payment to their city-licensed contractors is received by the City of Chicago.

SBIF Application Acceptance Periods:

To be accepted for possible funding, a SBIF Application Form for a project property must be submitted within a designated open application acceptance period for the TIF district in which the project property is located. Application acceptance period deadlines occur thirty (30) days after a public “roll-out” meeting announcing the availability of new funds or after an announcement via the SBIFGram (the monthly e-mail newsletter for the SBIF program) and on the webpage. Applications for each open TIF district shall be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Central Time on the designated “close” deadline date. Currently open and “on-deck” (soon-to-be-open) districts and their respective application acceptance periods are listed below in the “SBIF-Authorized TIF Districts” section of the webpage.

Applications can be submitted via e-mail. Applicants are encouraged to contact SomerCor 504, Inc. to confirm receipt of their application after submittal. All applications must be received by SomerCor 504, Inc. by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on the application acceptance period “close” deadline date; any application that is postmarked before the application acceptance period “close” deadline date but not received by SomerCor 504, Inc. by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on the application acceptance period “close” deadline date shall not be accepted for possible funding.

Open/On-Deck Districts: Application Period Closes
Commercial Avenue: Jan 4, 2019
Clark/Montrose: Jan 4, 2019
Humboldt Park: Jan 4, 2019
Pulaski Corridor: Jan 4, 2019
Stockyards Annex: Jan 4, 2019
Lawrence/Broadway: Jan 4, 2019
Stockyards Southeast Quadrant: Jan 4, 2019
63rd/Ashland: Jan 4, 2019
Jefferson Park: Jan 14, 2019
Central West: Jan 31, 2019
79th Street Corridor: Jan 31, 2019
Ogden/Pulaski: Jan 31, 2019
Galewood/Armitage: Jan 31, 2019
West Irving Park: Jan 31, 2019
Avalon Park/South Shore: Jan 31, 2019
79th/Vincennes: Jan 31, 2019

SomerCor 504, Inc. cannot accept an application for a property that is not located in a Chicago TIF district. SomerCor 504, Inc. cannot accept an application for a property that is located in a Chicago TIF district that does not have a currently open application acceptance period.

The Latest 'New Funding - Roll-Out Meeting'
Jefferson Park
When: 9:00 a.m. Dec 14, 2018
Where: Fannie's Cafe, 5044 W. Montrose Ave.

If there are more applicants than available funds can initially accommodate after an application acceptance period closes, then the City of Chicago holds a lottery to determine the order in which applicants may become eligible for funds. Lottery announcements can be found here:

Eligible SBIF Districts:

Eligibility Requirements:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Applications can be submitted:
via e-mail to
fax to 312-757-4371
U.S. Mail or other courier service, or hand delivery to
601 S. LaSalle St. #510
Chicago, IL 60605.

Latonya Jones, Project Coordinator, SBIF
(312) 360 3308

Joseph Lewis, SBIF Director
(312) 360 3329

Silvia Orozco, Associate SBIF Director - Hablo Espanol
(312) 360 3334

Jacob Stern, Senior Vice President/Director of Economic Development
(312) 360 3328

Chicago Main Office
601 South LaSalle, Suite 510
Chicago, IL 60605 map
P: (312) 360 3300
F: (312) 757 4370

Springfield Office
3201 W White Oaks Dr
Springfield, IL 62704
P: (217) 793 1075

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois: Eligible Chicago Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts