City of Tucson Launches New Grant Program to Help Small Business Owners Make Building Improvements

September 14, 2020

Tucson, Ariz. – Sept. 14, 2020  The City of Tucson announces the launch of the Visual Improvement Program (VIP), a matching grant program to help small businesses and commercial property owners make exterior improvements to their property. The purpose of the VIP program is to encourage investment in, and revitalization of, key commercial areas and corridors through incentives and infrastructure improvements.

The program is designed to impact properties in need of revitalization and assists property owners or business owners with storefront facelifts. Through the program, the City will provide technical and financial assistance to property owners or business tenants seeking to renovate or restore exterior façades, signage, and lighting for commercial buildings.

According to Barbra Coffee, director of Economic Initiatives for the City of Tucson, this program is a great tool for businesses looking to improve their street presence. “This grant program helps business and property owners make the improvements to their buildings that they may otherwise be unable to do on their own,” said Coffee. “A building can be a business’ best advertisement, and as many start to reopen, this is the perfect time to refresh the storefront.”

Applicants for the VIP must be commercial property owners or commercial tenants located within the City of Tucson. Tenants must have written approval from the property owner to participate in the program, and preference will be given to independent businesses not contractually required to maintain standardized décor, architecture, signs or similar features. The City will give priority to businesses and commercial property owners located within “an area that benefits low- and moderate-income residents,” as defined by the Department of Housing & Community Development.

Interested small business owners, and property owners, should complete a brief online application, providing contact information and a detailed description of the proposed improvements. City staff will conduct an initial review to determine eligibility, and will then engage qualified applicants to determine which improvements are eligible for reimbursement through the Program. For eligible improvements, the City will provide a 50% matching grant to reimburse up to $20,000 of eligible exterior property improvements. The applicant must provide a cash match. 

Tucson businesses and property owners can learn more about the program, and apply online, by visiting

About the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives

The City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives coordinates the City’s economic development programs for the purpose of attracting jobs and investment to the City of Tucson. It also offers local small business and entrepreneurial assistance and encourages workforce development in order to foster a long term sustainable and diverse local economy. For more information or to contact the Office of Economic Initiatives, visit