The application period has opened for the next round of Neighbourhood Opportunity Grants, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel describes as “the administration’s signature equitable development initiative that has already driven more than $55 million in new investment across the South, Southwest and West sides.”
“Our goal is not for one part of Chicago to grow, but for all of our neighborhoods to grow together,” Emanuel said in a statement. “These investments in neighborhood businesses don’t just create jobs; they create a sense of community. At the end of the day, that’s what the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) is all about.”
The NOF program is designed to catalyze commercial activity in Chicago’s neighborhood commercial corridors, building up amenities and delivering the services and products communities need and deserve.
Grant-eligible costs include:
- Land acquisition and assembly;
- New construction (up to 30 percent of total project costs);
- Building acquisition, demolition and environmental remediation;
- Minor site improvements and security measures;
- Roofing, facade, and mechanical system repairs; and
- Architectural, engineering, and financing fees and other soft costs.
Applications for grants of $250,000 or less are available now through March 5 at:
Applications for grants of more than $250,000 are accepted on a rolling basis year-round.
The mayor announced the first round of NOF grants in June 2017, totaling $3.2 million and supporting 32 businesses. A second round came in March 2018, which included another $3.2 million supporting 25 projects. And a third round in August 2018 offered $5 million for 33 projects.
NOF unding is generated from voluntary payments made by downtown development projects.
Since the program’s inception, the city has collected $34 million for the NOF. Developers make payments to the program when they request building permits, and an additional $170 million for approved downtown developments is still pending.
Eligible costs for program grants include property acquisition and rehabilitation, and local hiring subsidies. Up to 65 percent of total project costs are eligible for funding through the program. Grants that exceed $250,000 require City Council approval. Project eligibility is limited to low-to-moderate income areas.