Storefront Improvement Program

Program Basics

The Woburn Redevelopment Authority is pleased to offer a grant and loan program for Woburn Businesses that are interested in making improvements to their signage and facades. The program provides funding to property owners and business tenants seeking to renovate their building facades/storefronts or signs.  The main purposes of this program are to improve building facades that are visible to the public and to encourage merchants and commercial property owners in downtown Woburn to install attractive, quality commercial signage in accordance with the City of Woburn’s Sign Ordinance.

The program will provide matching grants of up to $2,000 for signage improvements and loans of up to $15,000 for façade improvements.  Generally, properties must be located within the Downtown (B-D) Business District (the “District”) and comply with certain color restrictions.  However, on a case by case basis, the WRA will consider funding improvements to buildings outside of the District, or permitting the use of sign colors other than those specified in the guidelines, if the buildings are located on high-visibility main streets leading to the downtown, and the improvements are visible from public ways.”

Sign grants require a match from the grant awardee. Grants and loans will be distributed on a rolling basis until funds are no longer available.

Eligible work includes, but is not limited to, the fabrication and installation of new signage and/or awnings; repair of existing signage and/or awnings; painting of exterior building facades and trim; repointing/cleaning of brick or stone work; refurbishment of storefront lighting; and replacement of doors and windows.  The WRA’s grant/loan program will not fund any improvements made prior to a formal vote of the WRA to fund the project (in the case of sign grants) or prior to receiving a loan commitment letter from the WRA (in the case of façade loans).

Eligibility Criteria

  • Preference will be given to small business owners located in the District who are not required by contractual arrangement to maintain standardized décor, architectural, signage or similar features. Notwithstanding the preference, funding may be awarded to owners with such contractual arrangements.
  • Non-profits, charitable groups, and community organizations located in the District will also be considered for funding under this program.
  • The property to be awarded funding must either be physically located within the District or a majority of WRA members must vote to authorize funding for a property outside of the District.
  • Tenants must have written approval from their property owners in order to apply for and receive funding.
  • The owner of the property which is the subject of the application must be up to date on all municipal financial obligations at the time of application submission.  Such obligations include real estate and personal property taxes, and water and sewer charges.
  • Applicants must comply with all State and local laws and regulations pertaining to licensing, permitting, Building Code and zoning requirements.


Before and After

Marco’s Italian Cold Cuts in 1998

Marco’s today

The Pilgrim Building in 1998

The Pilgrim Building today

383 Main Street in 1998

383 Main Street, Cilantro Restaurant today

406 Main Street in 1998

406 Main Street, Studio 406 Hair Styling today



History of the Grant and Loan Program

Nearly 25 years ago, the City commissioned a Woburn Square Revitalization Plan which urged the City to provide technical and financial assistance to commercial property owners for the renovation of existing, deteriorating facades in the downtown.  As part of the initial implementation stages of the plan, the WRA, using its own funds and grant funding, successfully completed a pilot Storefront Improvement Program which renovated four deteriorating downtown facades, including 383, 385, 389-393, and 406 Main Street.

Since then, the WRA has funded a grant program targeting improvement of storefront signage that has distributed over $95,000 in grant monies to over three dozen business and property owners for sign renovations and replacements.

The success of the sign program prompted the WRA to expand the reach of the program several years ago to once again include façade improvements.  The WRA provides no-interest loans of up to $15,000 per property for façade improvements such as window and door replacements, exterior building painting, and the like.