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  • Announcement


MiPortland Downtown Development is excited to announce the launch of DIDO! Façade Incentive Reimbursement Pitch Competition. This new program has the intention of providing financial reimbursement for upgrades or alterations to building exteriors.

The competition will feature as many as five competitors, each will receive some funding with one potentially being awarded $10,000. A total of $20,000 is available for the competition. These incentives are specifically for the Historic Downtown District of 100 to 300 Kent Street and a few selected surrounding historic buildings on Bridge Street and Grand River Avenue.

MiPortland has had a Façade Improvement Incentive program for many years. The program is active when the DDA budget has available funding to offer reimbursements. This will be the first year that awards will be assigned through a pitch competition.

“We’re very fortunate to have several building owners poised to renovate their facades,” stated Executive Director, Tina ConnerWellman, “it is hoped that the incentives offered will encourage these historically oriented rehabilitation projects to incorporate more dramatic improvements.

By improving the appearance of the building facades, the Program serves to improve the economic viability of downtown Portland in these demonstrated ways:

· Commercial building improvements resulted in an increase in business sales in the year after the improvements were made,

· Sales improvements were sustained for several years,

· Sales increases fed increases in local taxes,

· The improvements attracted new businesses and shoppers to the target area,

· Participants were often motivated to make additional improvements (such as to interior spaces or product lines), and

· Owners/tenants of properties and businesses in surrounding areas were motivated to make improvements

Cory Grimminck, DDA Board Chair commented, “There are so many beautiful and historic buildings in our town, and it will be wonderful to see them restored to their former glory. What better use for DDA funds, than to help our buildings match the natural beauty that surrounds them! Restoring the facades will draw new businesses and faces to our community, and bring joy to the people who already call Portland "home."

The DIDO! Façade Pitch Competition is currently open to applicants. Completed applications are due by Friday April 21, and contestants will be announced Wednesday May 10. Contestants will pitch to a panel of judges and to the public on Thursday June 2, 2023 and prizes will be announced that evening. The location and time for the publicly judged competition will be announced the first week of May. Awarded projects are required to be completed within six months, by December 2, 2023.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time as improved facades will complement the upcoming Kent Street Reconstruction Project. This street project works to fulfil our role in providing the infrastructure, sidewalks and streetscapes that will attract and retain private enterprise and enhance the downtown experience, not only for our residents, but also those who visit and patronize our downtown,” said City Manager, Tutt Gorman.

The DDA Design Team and Board will be recruiting judges who are respected in the areas of historic revitalization, construction, real estate, finance, and who’ve previously or are currently invested in Portland’s Historic Downtown District. Judging will be based on specific criteria and a proven multiplier model.

Mayor James Barnes noted, “The facade program is intended to support the stakeholders who are investing in Portland's downtown by improving their storefronts while preserving the district's beauty and history. The facade program improvements, along with the new streetscape will encourage community residents and visitors to choose downtown Portland to come and enjoy the many businesses, events, and activities that can be found here.

Interested building owners are encouraged to review all available information; Facade Overview & Guidelines, DIDO! Competition Rules & Guidelines, Agreement & Easement paperwork for awarded facades. All information, including the application can be found at Printed packets can also be requested through the MiPortland DDA office by leaving a phone message, emailing, or stopping into Portland City Hall and requesting the DDA office.

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