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Decatur Downtown Development Authority approves remaining facade improvement grants

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Decatur Downtown Development Authority approves remaining facade improvement grants

Downtown Decatur. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

By Angela Walker, contributor 

Decatur, GA – The Downtown Decatur Development Authority (DDA), at its May 12 meeting, unanimously approved five grant requests for the commercial facade improvement grant program totaling $26,500.

“The Decatur Development Authority (DDA) allocated $100,000 of its FY 2022-2023 budget supporting the City of Decatur retail small business owners and commercial property owners in renovations and repairs focused on improvements and beautification of storefronts and facades”, Business Development Manager Shirley Baylis wrote in a memo.

In March, for the first round of funding, the DDA approved 13 grant requests, totaling $73,155.87. During the second round, with the approval of 5 additional grants, the total funds awarded for FY 22-23 was $99,655.87.

The board also approved the DDA Executive Director to be authorized to execute grant contracts with each approved applicant. “The grants cover 75% of the cost of any approved project, with a minimum contribution from the DDA of $2,500 and a maximum of $10,000. Additionally, a limited number of $1,000 microgrants will be made available for simpler projects,” Baylis wrote in the memo.

DDA Chair Conor McNally said, “This program hits at our mission to assure the long-term economic stability of downtown Decatur and financially support small businesses beautifying downtown Decatur.”

A total of 18 businesses were approved for funding for the improvement program. Projects range in scope from masonry repairs, storefront reconstruction, exterior painting and stucco, awnings, canopies, and window and door repairs and replacements. All projects must begin within six months and be completed within 18 months, consistent with the city of Decatur’s permitting process.

Here is the list of the 5 remaining grant recipients:

– Pearl & Main (dba LaChiquiada Restaurant), 110 W. Trinity Place

Approved signage over the patio facing North McDonough Street so that it can be seen down the walkway.

Requested Amount: $6,500

Recommended Grant Amount: $5,000.00.

– Takumi Cuisine, 250 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue

Approved signage and glass door and transom replacement.

Requested Amount: $5,000

Recommended Grant Amount: $3,500

– SQ/FT, 149 Sycamore Street

Approved repainting of signage, repair of the awning, and repainting of window frames.

Requested Amount: $8,000

Recommended Grant Amount: $6,000

– Chai Pani Decatur LLC, 406 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue

Approved hand-painted word signage for the new front patio.

Requested Amount: $9,000

Recommended Grant Amount: $5,000

– Core Dance, 133/139 Sycamore Street

Approved caulking and grouting around the windows, replacing windowsills, grouting loose bricks, and repainting the facade after the work on both 133 and 139 Sycamore. Replacement of awnings on the studio building at 139 Sycamore if funds are remaining in the budget.

Requested Amount: $7,593

Recommended Grant Amount: $7,000

See the list of 13 businesses that were awarded funds during the first-round funding.

The commercial facade improvement grant program will continue for the next fiscal year, which begins July 2023.

Following the May 12 DDA meeting, the DDA and members of the Decatur Land Trust toured the three affordable units at Park 108, a luxury town home development from Toll Brothers.

The development is located at 108 Park Place, which is the former AT&T building in Oakhurst. Park 108 should have residents living there by August, according to Tiffany Allen with Toll Brothers.

Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said the DDA was able to negotiate the three affordable units with Toll Brothers when they asked the DDA to support a special exception for the project.

“The next steps are with the Decatur Land Trust to find the qualified buyers of the three units that we have here,” Threadgill said.

The development agreement for affordable housing at Park 108 became binding when the city commission approved the ordinance for the special exception, Threadgill said.

DaVena Jordan, Interim Executive Director of the Decatur Land Trust, said the priority for purchasing the units will be given to city of Decatur and City Schools of Decatur employees.

Jordan said there will likely be a lottery to select buyers if they get applications from multiple people who are qualified to buy them, which is likely given the limited availability of affordable housing in Decatur and Atlanta.

If buyers want to resell it, there’s a resale formula that will allow the seller to keep a portion of the equity and the land trust would get a portion.

“So yes, these three units will remain affordable in perpetuity,” Jordan said.

The Decatur Land Trust and the Downtown Development Authority toured affordable units at Park 108 on May 12. Top row (l-r): Darren Comer, David Harry, Noah Peeters, Conor McNally (each a DDA board member); Middle row (l-r): Bill Adams, DaVena Jordan, Shirley Baylis, Linda Curry; Front row (l-r) Angela Threadgill, Linda Harris, Alan McNabb, Anthony Leung. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Editor and Publisher Dan Whisenhunt contributed to this story. 

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