Plano staff are seeking to move forward with a retail rehabilitation program in the form of various grants to help commerce centers across the city.

Director of Special Projects Peter Braster provided an overview of what a program might look like and sought input from Plano City Council on a grant program during the Oct. 23 meeting.

The gist

If created, the program would allow the city to provide funding assistance to different retail areas within Plano. It could also function as an economic incentive for attracting companies into the city, Braster said.

There have been a few examples in which the city has partnered with retail centers already, including at Assembly Park, which had construction completed in October. If a formal retail rehabilitation grant program is created, Braster said he and staff will be looking for input on which areas are used as trial locations.

Braster said the rehabilitation grant process could work similarly to other Plano economic development grants that include a committee review, data analysis and council approval. City officials also plan to create a set of criteria to define eligibility for the grants.

Council directed city staff to proceed with plans to bring back details of a grant program at a future meeting.

The details

Several categories of grants were proposed by Braster and could all be included in a future program:
  • Location, which is typically paid to a retail center tenant
  • Lease buy down
  • Facade improvement
  • Demolition
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Signage
  • Paving
  • Neighborhood pedestrian connections
Quote of note

“We think it’s important with the aging infrastructure and the retail conditions we have on some of our four-corner retail to recognize that but for the participation of the city, we might not be able to change the trajectory of some of these that are seeing increased vacancies and deterioration of condition,” City Manager Mark Israelson said.

What’s next

City staff will develop some of the administrative considerations for a grant program, including potentially setting up a self-sustaining fund to draw from, Israelson said. An updated proposal will likely come before council for consideration at a future meeting.