Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)
Updated Jan. 12, 2021
The Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program uses Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties within specific TIF districts to repair or remodel their facilities for their own business or on behalf of tenants.
Program participants can receive grants to cover between 25 percent and 75 percent of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant of $100,000 for commercial properties and $150,000 for industrial properties. The grant, which is administered by SomerCor on the City's behalf, does not have to be repaid.
Staring Jan. 1, 2021, SBIF staff will begin to roll out a series of enhancements to the program. Most notably, the maximum grant amount will increase to $150,000 for commercial properties and $250,000 for industrial properties. Additionally, commercial applicants may be eligible to receive reimbursement up to 90% of eligible project costs.
For more information on these improvements, see the DPD news section or attend one of the upcoming webinars, listed below.
Qualifications and Restrictions
Expenses eligible for a SBIF grant include:
- Facade repair and replacement
- Permanent interior renovations and build out
- New windows, floors or roof
- New heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers
- Purchase of adjacent property for building expansion or parking
- Project-related design and construction fees
SBIF grants are provided as reimbursement to property owners after remodeling work is completed and expenses are paid. Residential property, residential components of mixed-use buildings, and property leased to chains and certain other businesses are not eligible for the program. Vacant business property is eligible, but grants are not paid until the space is occupied by a SBIF-eligible business tenant.
Upcoming Application Rounds
Applications open: 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4
Applications close: 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8
- Peterson/Pulaski: North Park
- Kinzie Industrial Corridor: Humboldt Park, West Town, East Garfield Park and Near West Side
- Roosevelt/Cicero: North Lawndale
- North/Cicero: Austin
- Pilsen Industrial Corridor: Pilsen
Applications open: 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1
Applications close: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 3
- 35th/Halsted: Bridgeport
- 71st/Stony Island: South Shore and Avalon Park
- West Woodlawn
- Commercial Avenue: South Chicago, South Deering and Calumet Heights
Applications open: 9 a.m. Monday, March 1
Applications close: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 31
- North Branch South: West Town, Near North Side and Lincoln Park
- Belmont/Central, Belmont Cragin
- Northwest Industrial Corridor, West Garfield Park
- Ogden/Pulaski, North Lawndale and South Lawndale
- Stony Island/Burnside Industrial, Burnside, Chatham, Pullman, Avalon Park and Calumet Heights
Click the above links to view the exact boundaries of each TIF district.
DPD and SomerCor will host a series of webinars throughout 2021 to review program requirements, the application process, and the new changes to the program that roll out beginning in February. The webinar registration links are available below. A live stream can also be viewed at the day and time of each event on DPD's YouTube page.
- 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 7 | Video | Presentation
- 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3 | Register
- 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 3 | Register
For additional information, including program rules and the application, visit www.somercor.com/sbif.