The City of Iowa City is extending the deadline from February 15 to March 15 to apply for Building Change Grants. The City recently reintroduced a financial assistance program called “Building Change” to help revitalize buildings in the Downtown and Northside Marketplace areas for continued viability, sustainability, increased tax base and improved aesthetics. There are both grant and loan components to the program. There are no deadlines associated with the loan program.

Good building stock is important to the social, historic, commercial and cultural fabric of the community. To ensure continued investment in this community asset, the Building Change program will help fund the following eligible activities:

  • Façade renovations
  • Entryway modifications, elevators or other accessibility improvements
  • Renovations of underutilized space, such as unused upper levels

Program Details

The grant program will pay 50% of project costs, up to $50,000 on projects costing a minimum of $50,000. Applications for the competitive grant funding will be accepted until March 15, 2019. Grant awards will be based on project impact, type of improvement, total investment, and other sources of funding available.

The loan program is designed for projects costing a minimum of $10,000 and provides 2% interest loans for 5-year terms for up to 50% of project costs, with a maximum loan of $30,000. The loan program is funded by local lenders Hills Bank & Trust, MidwestOne, and UICCU, and is administered by the City. Applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis.

Apply Online

Interested property owners should complete an online application form available at Based on the description of each project, staff will determine whether additional information, such as financial documents or architects’ plans and cost estimates will need to be submitted, and will also advise property owners on the types of programs and incentives that are available.

For more information, contact Economic Development Coordinator Wend Ford, at 319-356-5248 or

Other Signage and Storefront Funding

Running in tandem with the City's Building Change incentive program, the Iowa City Downtown District, in partnership with the American Sign Museum, is set to launch the second chapter of CoSign. CoSign is a program designed to bring creative on-premise signage back to Downtown Iowa City. This year, the program is being expanded to include support for creative signage and storefront enhancements that go above and beyond. Competitive grants will be available to support new projecting signage up to $3,000 (with a 50/50 match), and other enhancements related to paint, lighting, door plate tile, windows, and doors up to $1,000 (with a 50/50 match).

For more information about the CoSign program, visit

Building Change flyer

Date of publication

Friday, February 08, 2019