Read the requirements and the guidelines of the Business Improvement and Growth Program 2024 Cycle.
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) is committed to continuing to be an effective steward of public funds by investing in places that have established development patterns and where city services and infrastructure already exist. Due to its street grid pattern, Historic Downtown Brownsville is the city's best-equipped and most walkable area. It hosts essential infrastructure and services such as work, schools, public transportation, and shopping. Furthermore, the quality of buildings in older and historic districts surpasses that of new construction and contributes to our community's culture, history, aesthetic quality, and social fabric.
Since 2019, BCIC has invested over $2.9 million in the award-winning Business Improvement & Growth (BIG) Program, which has prompted over $24.8 million in private investment and economic activity that has contributed to the dynamic period we are currently experiencing in Historic Downtown Brownsville. We are at the cusp of an economic and cultural shift, propelled to critical mass by BCIC’s BIG Program. As such, Historic Downtown Brownsville is once again becoming the hub and heart of our city.
BCIC has revamped the program to continue partnering with property and business owners investing in our city to further our efforts and leverage BIG's preservation-based economic development. Through BIG, BCIC is creating viable, risk-averse areas of investment that foster a diverse community of entrepreneurs that is making it happen together, sharing successes, and creating unmatched experiences that honor our colorful culture and history.
ABOUT BIG PROGRAM
The BIG Program offers reimbursable matching grants to downtown property owners and tenants investing in rehabilitating commercial buildings within the BIG Program Boundaries. The program aims to strengthen downtown’s economic activity by offering incentives to preserve existing buildings and prevent further deterioration, prep vacant spaces for occupancy and reduce vacancies, and promote mixed-use development by activating multi-story buildings. Eligible activities include:
- Façade Improvements
- Interior MEP Improvements
- Rent Subsidy*
Eligible applicants may stack the various grants listed above.
*Rent Subsidy grants are available only to tenants.
The BIG Program is funded through BCIC’s 2024 Operating Budget. Program funding is limited, and the BCIC Board of Directors' consideration of grant applications is subject to the availability of funds.
THE PROGRAM IS NOT INTENDED TO FUND FULLY OR KICKSTART PROJECTS, AND THE APPLICANT MUST DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY HAVE THE AVAILABLE CAPITAL TO COMPLETE THE ENTIRE PROJECT. IF THE APPLICATION IS DENIED BY THE BCIC BOARD, THE APPLICANT IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS TO APPLY.
ABOUT THE REHABILITATION GRANTS
The BIG Program offers reimbursable matching grants for eligible project costs for façade and interior mechanical, plumbing, and electrical improvements of commercial buildings. For this iteration of the program, BIG includes two categories for property rehabilitation projects:
- Extensive Rehabilitation
- Façade and Interior MEP Improvements - up to $200,000 with an 80% match required by the property owner and a 20% match from BCIC.
- Standard Rehabilitation (Available to both property owners and tenants.)
- Façade Improvements – up to $25,000 with a 50/50 match.
- Interior Improvements – up to $35,000 with a 50/50 match.
ABOUT THE RENTAL REINVESTMENT GRANTS
Program Participants may be reimbursed up to twelve (12) months of rent, with a maximum rent subsidy of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for the year for any business. The rent reimbursement works as follows:
- Program participants may receive up to 50% of their monthly rent, not to exceed $1,250. The rent reimbursement amount will be determined by the monthly rent as stipulated on the Certified Lease Agreement.
- Rent reimbursements must be requested on a monthly basis by submitting an invoice from the business to BCIC, show proof of rent payment, and submit a profit and loss statement from the previous month.
Properties must be located within the BIG Program Boundaries. Reference this map for eligibility.
BIG Rehabilitation Program Guidelines
BIG Rental Reinvestment Program Guidelines
Read the requirements and the guidelines of the Business Improvement and Growth Program 2024 Rental Reinvestment Program. These grants are only available to tenants.