The Facade Improvement Program was a valiant effort by the City Council to attempt to reskin the most visibly disturbing strip of Virginia Street between 2nd and Commercial Row. This was prior to Knitting Factory, Siri's Casino, and Whitney Peak Hotel taking residence.
The program only went as far as hiring an architect to draft rendings (shown below) of what the makeover could look like. A combination of budget cuts and differing opinions of the property owners on design, the program never made it past this point.
Luckily however, most of the block was ultimate 'made over' between the Knitting Factory, Siri's and Whitney Peak Hotel. The building that formerly housed Beverly's gifts SERIOUSLY on the corner of Virginia and 2nd Street needs a makeover.
So let's take a closer look at this program, right from City of Reno Staff documents;
The Façade Improvement Pilot Program encourages owners or business tenants of existing commercial properties to restore, renovate or improve their buildings to be more appealing to the consumer and to the area. The program provides the use of public funds to leverage private investment for improvements to buildings. Participants in the program will be required to work with City Staff and a Design Consultant to ensure that property improvements will be undertaken in accordance with established design guidelines. Staff recommends that the City Council approve this program whose key elements are the provision of an architect to work with property and business owners and the provision of financial assistance in the form of forgivable loans forgivable over five years.
The sum of $500,000 was approved for the Façade Improvement Pilot Program.
The Redevelopment Agency is proposing to use these funds to make forgivable loans to owners or business tenants of commercial properties. The pilot will be conducted on Virginia Street from Second Street to Douglas Alley. Because of the nature of the property on the corner of Virginia and Second Street, the project will extend west on Second Street to the end of the building.
As part of the Façade Improvement Program (FIP) participants will be provided with free architectural services to develop design concepts for exterior improvements. Professional design assistance will be provided to ensure that façade improvements are of a high quality and enhance architecturally and historically significant features of commercial building storefronts. Architectural design services are a key component of the FIP. The City Architect will be a resource for this program and if needed architectural firms will be selected through a Request for Qualifications process. Another key component of the FIP is the funding to participants. The loans will be forgiven in equal amounts annually over a five year period, from the date of the loan closure.
Any repairs or improvements to the building exteriors visible from the public right of way are eligible
including but not limited to the following:
• Complete façade rehabilitation including removal of non-original façade covering, and
cleaning, painting or restoring of exterior surfaces and materials
• Repair or restoration of original architectural details
• Repair or replacement of windows, storefront glass or doors
• Repair or installation of awnings, canopies or signage
• Removal of obsolete fixtures such as deteriorated signs or awnings
• Repair or installation of exterior building, display window or sign lighting
• Installation of permanent landscape improvements
• Removal of incompatible or inappropriate exterior finishes and materials
• Correction of code violation
• Other projects that improve the overall visual character of the area