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A Vision for the Hyde Park Retail District 2001 (with more detailed guidelines)

Small Business Improvement Grant program and City of Chicago Design Guidelines, "SBIF up 53rd Street."

Presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Development, Preservation and Zoning Committee, and its website, www.hydepark.org. Join the Conference; dues support our work.

The following guidelines and loan opportunities were furnished to the 53rd TIF and the public by SomerCor 504, Inc. For more, see the links at top, especially the packet on accommodating persons with disabilities and the pedestrian street building streetscape guidelines. Note that this is a matching program up $50,000. Other conditions, as revaeled at the March 12 TIF meeting include:

"Every application must have the Alderman's support.

After many questions from the Council and audience, it was agreed that the TIF Council could approve the SBIF, "in principle" but that the Neighborhood and Small business Environment Committee, chaired by Jane Comiskey, would need to make a recommendation to the full Council regarding a process and dollar amount. The rationale for spending TIF money on small business improvement is to enhance local businesses, thereby generating even more TIF funds in the future so the parking garage and Canter addition can be completed sooner. "

The program described below is being discussed with the public (such as the March 12 2007 TIF meeting). It is far more generous than Facade Rebate, but the federally-imposed rules and limitations severely limit who is eligible. It is being made available only to those in the TIF district. Criteria for acceptance by the Alderman, the TIF and th city have not been developed. For the Application, call South East Chicago Commission at 773 324-6926 or Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, 773 288-0124.



The city of Chicago's Small Business Improvement Fund is a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program, which will reimburse building owners for TIF-eligible investments. Projects must preserve building stock, improve neighborhood appearance or economic value, and enable businesses to stay in the neighborhood, remain competitive, or even expand within the TIF District.

Grants only, in the form of reimbursement
Funding for up to 75% of SBIF-eligible costs
$50,000 maximum assistance per project and per applicant
Applicants selected by lottery; a waiting list will be created, if needed


Businesses which art NOT eligible include, but may not be limited to: fast-food chain restaurants; national chain businesses (as defined by DPD); franchise businesses; branch banks; employment agencies; currency exchanges' pay day loan stores; pawn shops; astrology, palm-reading; liquor stores, bars; adult bookstores, massage parlors; hotels or motels; track waging facilities; trailor-stoage yards; and junk yards, or any use similr to those listed.

...Funding for vacant properties will require a minimum 60% lease-up by square footage of the entire property, and 100% lease-up of the ground floor space with a qualified tenant, prior to funding.

Any TIF-eligible improvement which permits a building owner to attract new commercial or industrial tenats, allows an eligible busines owner to maintain or expand operations, or contributes to the improved appearance and viability of a property. This includes, but is not limite to, rehabilitation, remodeling, or renovation of items such as:

The following items are NOT eligible for reimbursement, and therefore will not be counted toward total project cost (this is not an exhaustive list)

Only projects conforming to the uses and goals defined inteh governing TIF Redevelopment Plan for the relevant TIOF district will be accepted for funding.

In order to receive funding, projects must conform to mimimum design requirements. In addition, projects will be encouraged to meet design goals and guidelines [see below]. Work which is potentially damaging to the building, such as the use of incorrect tuckpointing materials, wil not be reimbursed. Plns must be submitted to SomerCor for design approval prior to betginning construction, or the project will be automatically disqualified.

... mising information 20 days, plans obtained, debts cured 120 days, completion 10 moths (maximum of one extension) [Work started prior to a conditional commitment letter from the city is not eligible.

Grantees will have access to technical assistance....

Minority/Women Owned Businesses... Directories will be provided to all successful applicants....

APPLCIATION PROCESS- See the ful document document

[MATCHING REIMBURSEMENT- varies from 75% for the samll portion of sales or net worth, dropping to 50% then 25% as the ceiling for eligibility is approched.]



Maximum grant amount. 25-75% not ot excee $50,000, with opportunity dto reapply after one year. Percent is based on business sales or projected gross receipts.

Eligible project costs. Renovation and repair of the building, alterations needed for compliance with ADA or environmental remediation. External wordk must comply with City design standards. Prior work or new construction are not eligible.

What is the first step? Contact SomerCor 504 Inc. Fill in application; they will contact you.

Qualification (see at top)

Will there be enough funds? If demand exceeds in the TIF, there will be a lottery; if a surplus later develops, they will be allocated to those waitlisted.

How do I get the grant:

Reporting--minimal information to SomerCor annually and continue to own the property or relocate outside the district for 3 years.

Contacts: John Paulun or Derek Walvoord for assistance or to submit an application at SomerCor 504 Inc, 2 East 8th Street Suite 2M, Chicago, IL 60605.

Phones are: Paulum 313 360-3305 FZX 323 360-3333 jpaulun@somercor.com
Walvoord 312 360-3319, FAX 312 360-3333, dwalvoord @somercor.com




Do repair or replace original building materials with matching materials
Do remove non-original siding materials, "false fronts," and mansard roofs or canopies
Do tuckpoint masonry with mortar that matches the original in color, consistency and joint profile
Do clean masonry with the gentlest-possible method, such a with low-velocity water, steam or chemical cleaning

Don't use materials not otherwise found in the building
Don't us imitation stucco or siding materials such as Dry-vit, aluminum siding or metal panels
Don't add "false fronts" or mansard roofs that cover or obscure the facade of the building
Don't sandblast, high-power waterblast, or tuckpoint masonry with portland cement

Original wall materials such as brick, stone and terra cotta should be repaired and maintained. Dry-vit and other imitation stucco (EIFs) or siding materials should all be avoided. Metal siding or panels, mansard canopies, and other types of "false fronts" should be removed. The original materials of your building were selected to complement its design and overall appearance. adding non-original siding materials and "false fronts" not only detracts from the building's appearance, but can damage the wall structure behind.


wen individual pieces of brick, stone or terra cotta are beyond repair, they should be replaced to match the originals in terms of size, color, finish and texture. Masonry surfaces should be properly tuckpointed to avoid moisture seepage and excessive wear on the masonry. Mortar and grout should match the originals in terms of color, texture, consistency and joint profile. Portland cement should never by used s mortar, since it is harder than the orginial masonry and can cause serious damage. Masonry should be cleaned using the least aggressive method possible (such as low velocity water, steam or chemical cleaning) after conducting tests on inconspicuous areas.


Original decorative features such as cast-iron piers, terra-cotta masonry, ceramic tile, pressed metal ornament, wrought iron grill work and cast stone should be repaired and maintained, and not be obscured by changes to the building. These features greatly add to the uniqueness and attractiveness of your building. Missing features or deteriorated features beyond repair should be replaced to match whenever possible.


Do restore the original size of any filled in or covered over upper-story window openings and repair/replace windows in "like-kind" to match
Do remove exterior-mounted security grilles and install new security grilles inside the storefront if possible
Do use The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation for historic buildings (available from city staff)
Don't fil in or cover over upper-story window openings
Don't install security grilles on the exterior of the buildings unless they are concealed or as unobtrusive as possible

New windows and doors should be sized to fit within existing openings, and not require the openings to be partially infilled. All broken and missing windows should be replaced with new glass, and window frames and sashes should be repaired. Storefront doors should have glass panels nd be commercial-looking in character. Please note t ht work done to wood windows and doors in residential portions of the building is generally ineligible for a rebate and will not be permitted in the program.


Security grilles, screens and enclosures should be a inconspicuous as possible and compatible with other elements of he storefront. If grilles are used, they should be installed on the inside face of doors and windows. All expose portions of th grilles, screens or enclosures should be painted. Less obtrusive security devices and alarm systems are preferred alternative measures.


The use of accent lighting to illuminate building facades is highly encouraged and may be done with projecting or concealed fixtures. Such fixture should be as inconspicuous as possible and compatible with the building's design. In general, the entire facade should not be washed in bright light, but lighting should be used to accentuate individual building features.


Historic buildings ar important visual "anchors" in commercial districts and often establish the architectural character of these areas. Facades and storefronts of historic buildings should be repaired and well maintained. Original features and material such as bulkheads, transoms, window framing systems, and cast-iron piers should all be maintained. Deteriorated original features should be repaired whenever possible, and missing features should be replaced to match the originals. Projects involving historic buildings must adhere to The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings.


Do keep/restore the original height and display window area (the height and width of the storefront opening) of storefronts which have been filled in or covered over.
Do keep/replace storefront windows with large sheets of clear glass to allow view into the retail space
Do keep/replace transoms (th small windows above a door or window) and recessed entries
Do keep/replace bulkheads (th low wall area under a storefront window)
Don't change the building's overall pattern and spacing of piers/columns and storefront openings
Don't reduce the size, cover over, block or fill in original storefront openings
Don't use sheets of glass with less than a five-foot width in storefront display windows
Don't use solid doors, glass block or tinted, opaque or mirrored glass
Don't add bulkheads (the low wall area under a storefront window) more than 24 inches high

The overall pattern of storefronts and piers/columns should be maintained as much as possible. Storefronts should not be enclosed or filled in, and window openings should not be reduced in size. If original openings have previously been altered or filled in, the openings should be restored to their original size and configuration.

In general, storefronts should incorporate such typical architectural features as recessed entries, display windows, and bulkheads, in keeping with the original design of the building. Bulkheads (the low wal area under a storefront window) should generally be no more than 24 inches high. Storefronts in the same building should have a consistent design and relate to the entire building as a whole.

Storefront windows should accommodate window displays and allow views into the retail space of the building. The large undivided sheets of glass typical of display windows should be maintained. Sheets of glass should generally be no less than five feet wide. In many older buildings, transom windows were part of the original design and should bed used for storefront window; glass block and tinted, spandrel, mirrored or opaque glass should all be avoided. Window framing systems should be as thin as possible, and glass should not be deeply recessed into the frame. Framing systems should generally be painted dark colors, and anodized bronze and natural aluminum finishes should be avoided.


Do establish a consistent location and size for all signs on the same building
Do use neon or simple external lighting like gooseneck fixtures when illuminating signs; for backlit signs, only illuminate the letters of the sign (rather than the entire face of the sign)
Do conceal electrical transformer boxes, conduit and electrical raceways
Do reuse and restore historic signs when possible
Don't mount signs in areas where they cover up windows or decorative features of the building
Don't size or locate signs so that they extend above, below or beyond storefront openings, sign panels or "sign bands" (the wall area above the storefront window)
Don't install roof signs, signs with moving or flashing parts, or projecting signs that project more than five fet from the face of the building or extend above the roof line
Don't use letters more than 30 inches high
Don't clutter the building with to many signs, affix paper signs to the storefront windows or use material that are not high quality and durable, such as plywood, plastic or Styrofoam
Don't use freestanding signs or poles more than 15 feet high or that project over the public right-of-way.

The major purpose of a commercial sign is to identify a business and its merchandise and services. Signs should not be large and overbearing or cluttered with excessive information. They should be simple and coordinate with other neighboring signs. Randomly located signs, signs containing too much information, too many signs, and signs that are too large for individual shops and compact neighborhood shopping areas are often hard to read and easily missed by pedestrian shoppers and drivers. Such signs can give local shopping areas a cluttered, confusing and unattractive image. Simple signs with a consistent size and location form one storefront to the next make locating businesses easier. moveable, flashing LED signs should also be avoided.

Signs on the same building should have a consistent location, size, and overall pattern and be compatible with one another.

Signs should be constructed out of durable high-quality materials, and should be kept well maintained. Plywood, plastic and Styrofoam should not be used.

Signs may be illuminated using external lighting fixtures such as gooseneck lamps, but the fixture should be simple, unobtrusive and not obscure the graphics of the sign. Signs with internal illumination should have opaque face panels with routed letters, so that only the letters are backlit (rather than the entire face of the sign).

Types of signs. signs with individual letters (e.g. channel, cutout, and neon letters) are strongly encouraged, and individual letters should generally not be more than 30 inches high. Large projecting signs can overwhelm a building and should generally be avoided. Small projecting signs and banners, however, can create visual interest and are encouraged. freestanding monument signs should bed simple in design and not exceed 15 feet in height or project over the public right-of-way.

Signs for prior businesses, illegal signs, roof signs, billboards and unused structural sign supports should all be removed. Portable signs and large signs on upper facades should be avoided. Rooftop signs on or above the parapet or cornice of buildings, billboards and other outdoor advertising signs painted or mounted on structures should be strictly avoided.

Temporary signs should advertise short-term sale promotions only, and paper signs should generally be avoided. Temporary signs should not be placed on any par the building except in display windows, and should not occupy more than 25% of a window area. It is easier for shoppers to read a few simple, well-placed sale signs than to try to read a display window cluttered with many signs.

The reuse and restoration of historic signs is strongly encouraged. If historic signs are to be retained, they should be refurbished and restored. Lettering may be modified to reflect the current business.

Electrical transformer boxes, conduit, and raceways should all be concealed from public view. If a raceway cannot be mounted internally (on the inside of the building), the exposed metal surfaces of the raceway should be finished to match the background wall or integrated into the overall design of the sign. Unused electrical equipment should be removed.


Do mount awnings within individual bays or storefront openings
Do use retractable or traditional shed-type awnings; for storefront windows with transoms,
awnings should be mounted on transom bars (the awning flap) or small logos on the owning itself
Do use awnings of woven cloth or linen fabric, and limit signs on awnings to the valence (the awning flap) or small logos on the awning itself
Don't use awnings that extend up to the building wal, cover decorative features, or stretch continuously across masonry piers or arches.
Don't use "bubble" awnings, exaggerated-shaped awnings, elongated bullnose entrance canopies or canopy support attached to the sidewalk
Don't use metal, vinyl or rubber awnings that are internally illuminated or covered with signs, phone numbers, etc.

Awnings should be mounted in a location that respects the original design of the building, such as storefront bays, piers and columns, decorative moldings, and window and door patterns. In general, awnings should not obscure piers, columns and decorative features such as terra-cotta ornament and metal grillwork. Awnings should be designed to project over individual window and door opening and not be a continuous feature extending over masonry piers or arches or up the facade of the building. Awnings should be mounted within the actual window or door opening, on the wood or metal framing (not on the wall surrounding the opening). In storefronts with transom windows, awnings were often mounted on the horizontal framing bar separating the lower and upper portions of the window. Awnings should have a minimum clearance of 7'-6" above the sidewalk.

Types of awnings. Retractable awnings and she-type awning are strongly encouraged. Awnings without end panels are more transparent and allow better views into the storefronts. Awnings should project out at least 3 feet and not be steeply pitched. Convex or box awnings should generally not be used; convex (bullnose or domed) awnings may, however, be appropriate for some locations with round-arched window and door openings. awnings should be of woven cloth baric, not vinyl, metal or rubber. "Bubble" awnings or awnings that extend up the front of a building, that cover decorative features, or that have exaggerated scale, should not be used. Elongated bullnose entrance canopies and canopies with sidewalk supports should not be used.



Building permits are issued by the Department of Buildings, City Hall, Room 800, 121 North LaSalle Street, (312) 744-6479. Permits are required for all additions, alterations and new construction, as well as most types of repair work. for example, replacing window or storefronts, or a change in the number of doors and windows, would all require a building permit; likewise, concrete and masonry work also requires a building permit. Building permits must be clearly displayed at the construction site.

Architectural drawings are not required for most facade-only improvements; in most instances a rough design sketch will suffice. In instances where a substantial amount of work is to be done such as structural changes, installation of new window framing, the change of the fire rating on a part of the facade, or a change in the size of windows, the Department of Buildings may, however, require a set of architectural drawings.


A permit is required for setting up a barricade for work. Tuckpointing and cleaning of masonry does not normally require a barricade permit. Barricade permits are issued by the Department of Transportation, Construction Compliance, City Hall, Room 802, 121 North LaSalle Street, (312) 744-4652.


Awnings or canopies that extend two feet or more over the public right-of-way require a permit from the Department of Revenue, compensation Unit, 333 South State Street, Room 310, (312) 747-9035. This permit can only be issued after the City Council has passed a special ordinance fo the awning or canopy (allow at least 12 weeks for issuance of the permit). A permit for an awning or canopy that extends less than two fet over the public right-of-way can be issued by the Department of Buildings.


Electrical permits are required for light fixtures, neon signs, and lighted window displays. Electrical permits are issued by the Department of Buildings, Electrical Inspections, City Hall, Room 803, 121 North LaSalle Street, (312) 744-3460.

For more information about City permits, contact Mayor Daley's Business Express at 312 744-CITY.