Click here for the guidelines (available below) and application document. Guidelines updated Oct 12, 2021 by the USA Board of Directors.


This grant program is funded by the Uptown Shelby Association. Applications may be submitted at any time but funds are limited each year (starting July 1). Application does not guarantee that the grant will be awarded. Grants are awarded for eligible projects as funds are available. This is a reimbursement grant. Funds are issued at the completion and final approval of the project. There are two categories of the grant, depending on your total expected project costs:

  • Projects up to $10,000 in total expected project costs are eligible for a grant of up to $2,500 on a 50/50 matching basis.
  • Projects over $10,000 in total expected project costs are eligible for a grant of up to $7,500. The formula is: (50% of the first $5,000 spent) + (25% of the next $20,000 spent). -- this category was not funded by the board in FY 2022-23

All proposed projects must be reviewed and approved by the Uptown Shelby Association before any work has begun in order to be eligible for the grant. USA has the right to accept or reject any request and/or require modifications deemed appropriate to meet guidelines. USA will not promote or reward poor design and execution, inappropriate alterations, etc.


  • To promote storefront renovation and restoration of commercial buildings in Uptown Shelby;
  • To encourage good design and workmanship, and
  • To preserve Uptown Shelby’s unique historic character
  • Note: This program is not designed to pay for routine maintenance for a property (glass cleaning, janitorial services, minor repairs, etc).


  • Owner or tenant of a commercial building located within the Municipal Service District (map of the district is available upon request)
  • A building owner or tenant may apply for a facade grant. However, any application submitted by a tenant must include the signature of the building owner.
  • Any building having previously been improved with the help of a Façade Grant must wait a minimum of two (2) years before reapplying. USA has records of which buildings have received façade grants. Exceptions to this rule may be considered if one or more of the following circumstances have occurred: change in ownership, change in the use of the structure, or other situations that the Design Committee may deem appropriate to consider.
  • A project is deemed ineligible for funding if work begins at any point before the application is reviewed and approved.
  • All property taxes must be paid and current on the property.
  • If your business or organization is exempt from paying Cleveland County property taxes, you are ineligible to receive façade grant funds.

Eligible improvements include but are not limited to:

  • Exterior painting of previously painted surfaces in need of repainting
  • Paint removal by means approved by USA
  • Appropriate cleaning as part of an overall façade improvement
  • Masonry repair
  • Repair of original architectural detail
  • Repair of windows or window framing; replacement only as a last resort and must be compatible with original window design
  • Removal of siding and exterior false facades
  • Removal of inappropriate and outdated signage
  • Preservation of an existing historic sign or sign-related architectural element (must obtain a sign permit from the City of Shelby where required)
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Rehabilitation or compatible reconstruction of an original storefront
  • New canvas awnings or replacement of heavily damaged or missing awnings
  • Replacement of historic transom glass

Examples of ineligible work: (cannot be included in façade grant application)

  • Routine maintenance
  • Custom signage
  • Tools used for repair work
  • Intellectual property that is not solely purposed for renovations (e.g. logo design, etc.)
  • Painting of previously unpainted exterior brick structures
  • Installation of any type of exterior veneer – aluminum, vinyl, stone, stucco or any other inappropriate materials that interferes with the historic integrity of the building
  • Improvements made prior to grant approval.


Two award categories are available, depending on the project scope:

Tier 1:

  • For projects up to $10,000
  • Grant can be awarded up to 50% of allowable costs with max grant award of $2,500

Tier 2:

  • For projects over $10,000
  • Match 50% of first $5,000 spent (maximum payout for this portion - $2,500)
  • Match 25% of next $20,000 spent (maximum payout for this portion - $5,000)
  • Applicants are asked to submit estimated total project cost and any plans for rehabilitation of the building as well (if applicable), as that will be taken into consideration for the overall project impact on Uptown.
  • Priority will be given to projects which include comprehensive improvement of the building façade(s).
  • All Tier 2 applications must be approved by the USA Design Committee, which will make a recommendation to the full USA Board of Directors to approve, deny, or approve conditionally. The Board of Directors will then vote to approve, deny, or approve conditionally.


For purposes of this grant a façade is defined as an individual storefront or side of a building which faces a public right-of-way, or which is otherwise visible to the general public. Although deemed less important, project proposals affecting facades facing back alleys and rear entrances will be considered.

  • If a single building is divided into multiple business spaces, that are each designed to house its own owner and have its own address, business permit, and exterior entry, then each business is eligible to apply.
  • Buildings with multiple facades not divided into multiple business spaces are capped at a single grant application.


  • Proposed plans shall respect and reflect the architectural integrity of the entire building and neighboring streetscape.
  • Two detailed itemized quotes with line by line cost breakdowns are required. These should include all aspects of the job/work. At their discretion, the Design Committee may grant an exception in writing.
  • The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation must be adhered to in all proposed projects. (see attached)
  • Work shall conform to all applicable building codes required by the City of Shelby, Cleveland County, and the state of North Carolina. Please note that signs are regulated by City ordinance and require permits from the City planning office (704-484-6829).
  • Any project proposal – from entire façade rehabilitation to painting trim – is eligible for funding but top priority will be given to projects that make highly visible contributions to the commercial district.
  • USA reserves the right to withhold approval of grant application if color, design, or other façade component is not deemed appropriate to the historic integrity of the structure and/or Uptown as a whole.
  • Applications will become automatically ineligible if work has begun to the building prior to written approval either by USA.
  • Any changes to the project must be approved by the Uptown Shelby Association before being undertaken. Uptown Shelby Association reserves the right to deny payment if the completed work is not consistent with the content of the original application.
  • A projected date of project completion is requested on the application. Grant award is valid for 12 months after the date the applicant is notified. If the applicant has not submitted their proof of payment for reimbursement by this time, they may be asked to re-apply for funding.


Our office is here to assist you. USA maintains a list of contractors and companies that have conducted work or provided materials for Uptown buildings which have completed a successful façade grant in the recent past. Please contact our office, 704-484-3100, for this listing if you are in need of contact information or source suggestions.

Members of the USA Design Committee are available, free of charge, to advise on a comprehensive rehabilitation and renovation plan or to advise on façade design ideas, color selections, awning shapes and materials for your project. To set up a free consultation, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 704-484-3100.



  • Applicant meets with the USA executive director to review renovation plans.
  • Applicant completes application, including photos of current conditions, design plans, sketches, color scheme, photos, sign renderings, etc as applicable.
  • At least two (2) itemized bids must be submitted with the application, unless an exception is granted by the Design Committee in writing.
  • Applicant reviews application with:
    1. Property owner
    2. City Building Inspector for code compliance
    3. City of Shelby planning & development staff if applicable

Submission & Processing

  • Application is submitted with all other necessary information (see checklist on application form) to USA office.
  • Submitted application is reviewed by USA Executive Director for completion.
  • Complete applications are reviewed by the USA Design Committee at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
    1. For Tier 1 grant applications (projects under $10,000) the Design Committee will approve, deny, or approve conditionally.
    2. For Tier 2 grant applications, the USA Design Committee will make a recommendation to the full USA Board of Directors to approve, deny, or approve conditionally. If project exceeds $25,000, it is required that the applicant attend a Design Committee meeting to answer questions and to expedite the process. The Board of Directors will then vote to approve, deny, or approve conditionally.

Notification & Post-Approval Process

  • The Uptown Shelby Association notifies applicant in writing that the proposed project has been approved as submitted or rejected with recommendations. If project is rejected, applicant may resubmit with recommended modifications.
  • USA notifies applicant of decision of the committee (for tier 1) or board (for tier 2) in writing.
  • Applicant may begin work.

Upon Completion of Work

  • Approved applicants will be reimbursed for 50% of the actual project cost, up to the amount approved in the application process. Applicant must submit copies of cancelled checks and/or paid statements to USA office. Grant awards will not be processed without this documentation.
  • USA staff inspects the completed work.
  • If completed work is in accordance with application, USA staff requests that a check be issued. The reimbursement grant check will be issued within twenty (20) business days of the final inspection and approval of the completed project. A W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form) will be required prior to issuing the check if the amount is over $600.
  • Check is mailed to applicant at address provided on application.

Adopted November 10, 2015 by the USA Board of Directors

Updated Oct 12, 2021 by the USA Board of Directors

Click here for the guidelines (above) and application document.