A Comprehensive Approach to Enhancing Downtown Facades
Unlike a traditional facade improvement program, the Main Street West Memphis Façade Master Plan Program is a comprehensive rehabilitation of many downtown buildings at once. The instrument that makes this new approach to building enhancement possible is an easement. The property owner gives the Main Street West Memphis, Inc. a temporary five year easement on the facade of their building allowing the local government to spend funds on its improvement. In exchange for this temporary easement, the grant funds pay for the facade improvements. The advantages of this type of façade program are that it allows for a single source of project management, a single source of design, and a single source for construction.
The single source of project management streamlines the project and removes the burden of façade enhancement from each individual property owner. The single source of design, used in conjunction with the Main Street West Memphis Design Committee, ensures that all façade enhancements are sympathetic to the historic architectural heritage of their place. The single source of construction allows for dramatic cost savings since the contractor purchases all construction supplies for the entire enhancement project, rather than each property owner having to buy their own sign, door, windows, paint, awnings, etc. However, the biggest advantage to this approach is the ability for our Broadway District to receive an overall appearance facelift in a remarkably short amount of time. Moreover, when used in conjunction with a grant source like federal CDBG funds, an individual state’s department of commerce grant, or other federal, state, or local funding sources, the facade enhancements are realized with no costs to the building owner or tenant. If the funding and/or grant source requires a match from the property owner, the enhancements are still realized with nominal investment on their part that is far less than if they improved their façade on their own using solely private sector funds.