Business Assistance and Incentive Programs

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Incentive Overview

The Village of Skokie offers several incentives to encourage new retail or restaurant development as well as tenant improvements throughout the Village. 

Downtown Skokie Incentives

The Façade Assistance Program is intended to beautify buildings that enhance the Downtown experience and the success of its businesses.  The Village encourages exterior façade improvements through the following properties located in the West Dempster, Downtown Science and Technology, and Oakton-Niles TIF Districts:

Property owners or tenants can recover 50% of the cost of a complete façade renovation which is capped at $50,000 for a single façade up to 100 feet wide, or $100,000 for a building façade over 100 feet wide or a corner with two prominent facades.

Property owners or tenants seeking to undertake limited exterior improvements such as signage or awnings are eligible to receive 15% rebate on such costs.

Ground-floor facades must include significant glass and historical elements are to be retained and enhanced.  Construction materials should compliment the building’s architectural style.  Typical improvements include:

•Tuck-pointing and masonry repair

•New windows and doors

•Cornice repair or replacement

•Rebuilding front walls and foundations

•Improving display areas and lighting

The Village of Skokie encourages interior improvements to increase sales performance and ambiance.   Interior rehab work resulting in more attractive and functional commercial space is eligible for a 50% rebate up to $50,000.  Eligible expenses must result in fixed capital improvements that are built into commercial space and remain with the property regardless of change of use.   This initiative is limited to ground floor retail and restaurant uses.  The program covers the following properties located in the West Dempster and Downtown Science and Technology TIF Districts:

•All general rehab resulting in fixed capital improvements

•Building materials

•Fixtures

•HVAC and major kitchen equipment

•Electrical

•Plumbing

•Building permit fees

Change of Use Allowance

Downtown property owners can change the use of a building without being subject to a different parking requirement.

Storefront Enhancement Program (SEP)

The Village of Skokie seeks to enhance the overall marketability and stability of the Village’s primary and neighborhood commercial areas. To that end, the Village created the Commercial Corridor Storefront Enhancement Program (SEP) in 2016 which is funded via the Economic Development Fund.  Similar to the Village’s successful TIF-funded interior renovation and exterior façade grants, this program is designed to spur redevelopment and enhance properties along the primary commercial corridors not currently included within the West Dempster, Downtown Science and Technology, or Oakton-Niles TIF Districts. 

This grant rebate program is being offered on a competitive (first come, first served) basis and limited to ground floor commercial space within any areas zoned B1, B2, B3, NX, TX or CX. 

Eligible property owners or tenants may apply for exterior storefront improvement grant rebates from the Village using a 60% (applicant)/40% (Village) cost-sharing basis for approved construction costs up to a maximum of $25,000. Priority is extended to retail and restaurant uses. Interior renovation assistance is also available for retail or restaurant uses only. Interior assistance applicants are eligible for grant rebates from the Village of up to $25,000 on the same 60/40 cost-sharing basis or, if combined with an exterior storefront improvement grant (as per above), the maximum level of combined assistance is $40,000. Architectural/design fees of up to $3,000 are eligible for reimbursement in excess of the interior and/or exterior grant totals.

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Design Assistance

Rebate of 50% of the architectural and professional design service expenses for façade improvements or interior rehab, up to a maximum of $3,000.

Brokers Bonus Program

Real estate brokers are eligible for up to $5,000 in a special bonus for the lease or sale of commercial space in Downtown Skokie for a restaurant or retail use.  Leases must be for a minimum of five years, and the bonus is only paid upon occupancy for at least six months.  The bonus cannot exceed 5% of the value of the lease.  

Parking Requirement Waiver

Additions to existing commercial buildings resulting in less than 8,000 square feet of total gross floor area and new construction up to 8,000 square feet of commercial space are not subject to any new parking requirements in the CX Zoning District (Downtown Skokie).

Village Incentive Process

Funding for all programs are provided either as a matching escrow deposit/dispersion or as a rebate on the completion of the work.  Under no circumstances are monies paid up front prior to any work beginning.

Next Steps and Questions?

For more details on these programs or to apply for assistance, please contact the Economic Development division at 847-933-8446 or e-mail len.becker@skokie.org or leslie.murphy@skokie.org