South Broadway Urban Renewal Grant/Loan Policy

I. PURPOSE

A. The South Broadway Urban Renewal Grant/Loan Policy is established as an extension and compliment to the initial Broadway Ridge Historic District Grant for Albert Lea’s National Commercial Historic District. The policy is intended to assist property and building owners that are interested in façade or site improvements that preserve the architectural character of the property and improve the curb-side appeal for the South Broadway corridor. The policy also expects to ensure more energy efficiency and better compliance with any relevant building standards, including as outlined in Albert Lea City Code 74-499.

II. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

A. To provide Small Project Grant assistance up to $10,000 to owners whose buildings or site are in need of repair or improvement.
B. To leverage private investment and provide public grant assistance to projects, that otherwise may not occur, for façade renovation, site improvement, and preservation of commercial historic buildings and B-2 zoned properties.
C. To stimulate renovation and preservation of historic facades, and to improve the building stock of the community.
D. The policy and funding will be available from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021 unless extended or amended by the Albert Lea City Council.

III. GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVEMENTS

A. The guidelines for building or site restoration shall include:

1. Façade improvements that preserve the historical character of the building or enhance the visual appeal of the property from South Broadway. The guidelines for building restoration and modification are found in Albert Lea City Code B-2 Building Standards, City Code Section 74-499.
2. Landscaping improvements that enhance the visual appeal of the property from South Broadway.

IV. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

A. Projects must be located in the South Broadway Avenue corridor between the National Commercial Historic District on the north and Todd Avenue on the south.
B. To be eligible, rehabilitation design shall follow the B-2 Building Guidelines in Albert Lea City Code Section 74-499.

V. ELIGIBLE PROJECTS ACTIVITIES

A. Small project grant assistance may only be used to pay for façade or site improvements. The façade includes those portions of the building visible from South Broadway.
Projects may include:

1. Repair / replacement of windows and doors
2. Masonry repair / replacement
3. Awnings
4. Lighting
5. Signage
6. Painting
7. Architect’s Plan and Estimate
8. Other approved exterior improvements excluding roofs.
9. Interior modifications required to complete façade improvements.
10. Landscaping improvements as visible from South Broadway

B. Ineligible Improvements

1. Expenditures such as roofs, tinted windows, parking areas, inventory and equipment, operating expenses, non-fixed improvements, and general maintenance are ineligible.

VI. FUNDING

A. Small projects grant funding was established through contributions from the City of Albert Lea and Freeborn County. The City Manager may choose to use other sources to fund projects under this program subject to City Council approval. There may also be loans depending on the owner’s long term objectives and ownership plan. Grants under this program of less than $150,000 or 50% of the project costs are not considered to be a Business Subsidy under 2010 Minnesota Statutes 116J.993 (5).

B. Small Projects Matching Grants: A matching 50/50 grant of up to $10,000 may be permitted for projects as noted above. It must be determined by an architect, structural engineer, or the building official that there are no structural issues with buildings, such that the building should not be rehabilitated as proposed. A property owner who uses the matching grant may apply for additional grant or loan funds as long as the maximum $10,000 in matching funds is not exceeded during the life of the structure.

C. Fees and Taxes: Grantees are responsible for any legal fees associated with making the South Broadway Urban Renewal Grant. Taxes and assessment must be current on the property and are not eligible for payment from grant funds.

VII. PROCEDURE FOR GRANT APPLICATION

A. Interested owners/businesses shall set a meeting with the City Manager’s Office to review the potential project, discuss eligibility, and review the application process and
grant policies. Applications shall be submitted to the City Manager’s Office, 221 E. Clark St., Albert Lea, MN.
B. The property owner or business owner, with the owner’s approval, may obtain the Grant application from the City Manager’s Office.
C. Please provide the following documentation and take the following action:

1. Prepare the application and design plans illustrating the proposed work.
2. Prepare a registered set of improvement plans and an itemized estimate of listed improvement components based on a minimum of two contractor’s detailed written quotes for the project.
3. Exterior code violations must be remedied as part of the project.
4. The Grant application shall be signed by the owner of record.
5. Prepare financial information as to the source of private funds to match the grant and complete the project. The owner is required to pay contractors in full and Grant funds will reimburse paid contractor invoices up to 50% of the invoice, however, the total payments shall not exceed the grant amount established in the Construction Award/Grant Agreement. The owner shall show the source of funds for full payment of the contractor.
6. Schedule a project review meeting with the City Manager’s office and submit the application. A review will be scheduled with Building Inspection staff. You will have an opportunity to discuss the project. An on-site visit may be requested.
7. Receive a project recommendation from City staff.
8. Execute the Construction Award/Grant Agreement prior to the start of any improvements for which grant assistance is to be provided.
9. Submit Grant payment requisitions or paid contractor invoices, as required in the Construction Award/Grant Agreement, to the City Manager’s Office. The improvements will be inspected by the City Building Official for approval of the completed work. Partial requisitions and payments will be permitted.

(The estimated time for processing payments is 14 days.)

Application

Minnesota state law (Chapter 156 of the Session Laws of 2005) requires that "a city or county with a population of more than 15,000 must annually notify its residents of the positions and base salaries of its three highest-paid employees." For the City of Albert Lea, titles and salaries as of Jan. 1, 2019, are: City Manager, $138,375.12; Director of Public Works/City Engineer $110,780.80; and Director of Public Safety $103,646.40. Date of publication: January 23, 2019.