We talked about this program a few weeks ago and also discussed some design ideas at the NCPCA meeting. This program is the result of the City’s efforts to reinvigorate the Hollywood Commercial District, which is located in the northern portion of the City along Rhode Island Avenue. The area is home to more than 40 retailers, including anchor tenants in MOM’s Organic Market and REI, as well as several small office buildings.
Since their construction, primarily in the 1960’s, the majority of buildings in the district have not been significantly renovated. The result is a series of outdated storefronts, which presents a hurdle for attracting retailers. In order to incentivize investment from the business and property owners, the City created this program in October with repurposed funds from a State grant.
Eligible uses include exterior improvements such as awnings, doors, lighting, masonry work, painting, signage, and windows. Applicants are approved on a first come, first served basis with dollar-for-dollar matching grants available for a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $25,000. You can visit this Website to learn more about paintings either commercial, residential, etc.
In order to generate interest in the program, City staff obtained conceptual designs from the Prince George’s County Planning Department and the Neighborhood Design Center to showcase potential improvements. With these designs in hand, staff approached business and property owners to discuss the facade program and gauge interest in proceeding with the improvements.
Early discussions have been positive, with several of the owners expressing interest in the program. In 2015, We expect to continue working with the businesses and property owners to progress with their applications and eventually receive approval to construct the improvements. The results of these changes to the facade will benefit the existing tenants by creating a more welcoming environment for patrons, while also making the storefronts more attractive to potential tenants.
Just to note, the facade improvement program is different from the Hollywood commercial streetscape project that we discussed at Davis Hall last week. The main goal of the streetscape project is to make the public spaces in the area look more attractive. With the facade improvement program and the streetscape project we hope to bring positive changes to Hollywood.
The first property taking benefit of the program is the one located at 9913-9921 Rhode Island Avenue. The property is a 4,800 SF of retail and was built in 1961. The improvement list includes removing existing sheet metal parapet, replace with EIFS, surface & paint building. They already have resurfaced the parking lot and got the County permit for the facade work two weeks ago. The facade improvement work will begin soon. Here is a picture of the conceptual design of the project.