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  • Portland awards four businesses on Congress Street with Facade Improvement Funds

    Three storefronts and a marquis on Congress Street will be looking their best next Spring/Summer with recent grant awards from the City’s Façade Improvement Program.

    The storefronts include 578 Congress, the home of Strange Maine; 612 Congress, the former Anna’s Used Furniture; 785 Congress which was previously a variety store; and the State Theatre marquis. All the projects will further enhance the streetscape of the Art’s District, helping to attract more culture and entertainment seekers and shoppers, as well as businesses looking to locate in a vibrant downtown environment. 

    All will help Portland's creative economy continue to grow.

    ”The Façade Program produces such tangible results,” said Greg Mitchell, Portland’s Economic Developer Director. “This is an effective program to stimulate private sector investment, and we're really thrilled that we were able to award the remaining funds. Thanks to the many property and business owners who have partnered with the City to rehab their storefronts, the experience of Congress Street continues to get better and better.” 

    The Facade Improvement Program is funded with federal community block grant dollars.
    Almost $24,000 in grant funds remained unused from the last round of the Façade Program, which had targeted Congress Street, from Washington Avenue to Weymouth Street. As a result, the City’s Economic Development Department invited business and property owners on Congress Street to submit applications for these remaining funds to be used for improvements to their storefronts, signs and awnings. Eight applications were received and the four that would have the greatest impact on the streetscape were chosen. 

    The Façade Program requires a private match that is at least equal to the grant amount. It is anticipated that these projects, receiving a total of almost $24,000 in grants, will generate close to $55,000 in private investment on Congress Street, more than twice the public dollars provided.