The Downtown Building Rehabilitation Program (DBR) is designed to help aid in financing code-compliant construction and remodeling projects on main streets in downtowns. The DBR Program will support and provide 1/3 of the project cost up to $50,000 in eligible expenses. Up to 10% of awarded grant funding may be utilized for professional services such as an architect or engineer. A $500.00 application fee will be required to participate in this program and will be processed at the time of project closing.

Eligible Projects

  • Private & Nonprofit building owners and tenants
  • Demonstration of matching funds
  • Funding must be used to address code compliant construction upgrades
  • Building must be on a main street in a downtown area
  • Confirmation that the project has not started construction
  • One project per program year

Code Compliant Eligible Costs

  • General Construction
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Elevator
  • ADA
  • Mechanical
  • Sprinklers
  • Housing Rehabilitation
  • Lead & Asbestos Removal

Applicants are required to provide the following to be considered for funding:

  • Downtown Building Rehabilitation Program Application
  • Letter from the businesses bank(s) or lender(s) verifying funds available for their portion
  • $500.00 Application Fee (Please make check payable to AEOA at the initial inspection)

Eligible applications will be prioritized based on the following: The building is prominent or historically significant (1 point), the Building is highly visible on the main street in a downtown area (1 point), Code compliance issues are clearly identified (1 point), Project will support business expansion or retention (1 point), Project will bring a building back into use, expand the use of a building or retain a business that is in jeopardy of vacating a building (1 point), Current prevailing wage estimates submitted with the application (2 points), an applicant is ready to begin within 30 days of application submittal (1 point).

Staff from AEOA will be responsible for:

  • Initial site visit inspection – photo documentation and collection of application fee
  • Pre-construction conferences with the business representative(s) and Contractor(s) to award the project(s)
  • Final inspection of the completed project

One-third of the project up to $50,000 maximum payment will be paid in full to the awarded contractor(s) from AEOA when all documents are completed, and the project is final inspected. It is the contractor(s) responsibility to invoice AEOA as well as the building owner. The building owner is responsible for paying the additional amount of the total project to the contractor with proof prior to receiving the DBR portion.

If multiple measures of work are chosen and the total cost of the project is over $150,000, the $50,000 contribution will go towards the portion of the project that has the most impact and value to the program at AEOA and the IRRR’s discretion.

Contractors will have to complete the following to move forward with the project:

  • Prevailing Wage Compliance Form
  • Direct Deposit Form w/voided check (applicable to new contractors)
  • Liability insurance certificate for job specific projects
  • Signed Warranty and Contract Agreement, Lien Waiver(s) and Sworn Construction Statement at the pre-construction conference

For more information and questions contact Scott Zahorik at or call 218-735-6828.

Download the following PDF files for more information and a fillable Application as PDFs

How the Downtown Building Rehabilitation Program Works – PDF

Downtown Building Rehabilitation Program Application (fillable) – PDF