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1855 Historic Map of Racine
The City of Racine White Box program is designed to encourage the redevelopment of older commercial buildings as vibrant, retail commercial spaces within traditional neighborhood districts and downtown. The City recognizes that many buildings may be non-compliant with modern building codes and that the cost of these improvements often fall to new entreprenuers looking to establish small businesses.
The program will make available a new business development incentive to commercial building owners and developers. The incentive will offer reimburseable grant funds up to $10 per square foot with a maximum of $20,000. The grant may not exceed 50% of the total white box project costs. The grant may be paired with the City’s Commercial Building Façade Grant Program, but there may be restrictions on using these programs in combination.
Grant will not reimburse for labor if self-contracted. Material cost and labor costs of employees are eligible, if the number of hours worked, rate of pay, and employee social security numbers are provided.
PRE-APPLICATION MEETING: We recommend that potential applicants contact the Chief Building Inspector(262/636-9161) to evaluate their eligibility for the program. Please note that applications must be received and reviewed by the Downtown Area Design Review Committee (DADRC) and approved by the RDA before any work begins. Grants will not be awarded to projects that are under construction or completed.
Depending on the building, proposed use, size of building, building components, etc. it may be necessary for multiple City inspectors to inspect the building or space to provide a complete overview. The Chief Building Official and inspectors will assess the building and provide a Summary of Findings Report (SFR). The SFR will identify the major impediments that may be necessary to address before occupancy of the building or space.
The White Box Inspection is not intended to identify every detail or every code requirement. The intent is to identify significant deficiencies within the first floor commercial space (based on the applicant’s proposed use) that will add a significant cost to their plan to occupy the space. It may still be necessary for the applicant to obtain the services of a architectural or engineering professional to prepare plans and specifications for their project.
APPLICATION REVIEW: Chief Building Inspector will determine if the application package that is submitted is sufficiently complete to review, and will submit to Downtown Area Design Review Committee (DADRC). The DADRC meets once a month. The application package must be submitted at least two weeks before a committee meeting to allow proper review and preparation for committee review.
DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE: The application package will be reviewed by the DADRC to determine whether the project should receive an award and determine the amount of the award. In making the determination, the committee will consider the following factors and may give priority to projects that meet the following criteria:
RDA APPROVAL: The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine (RDA) will make the final determination for funding, based upon the recommendation of the DADRC. The RDA will approve the White Box Program Grant Incentive Agreement, which is a contract between the RDA and the Contractor that stipulates the terms of the grant incentive agreement.
Application packages must include enough documentation to illustrate the visual impact of the project and its costs. Failure to provide a complete application package will delay the review process. The items submitted should include:
Reimbursement can be expected in approximately three (3) to six (6) weeks after all of the following documentation has been submitted:
Download the complete application packet here.
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