Office of Economic Development


RFP - City Downtown Waterfront Properties

Click here for a copy of the RFP

RFP - City Downtown Waterfront Properties 2022

2022 Business Improvement Program

Click here for a copy of the Grant Application

2022 Business Improvement Program

2022 Business Improvement Program

This program provides commercial and not-for-profit property owners and business owners façade, sign, infrastructure, and business equipment grants. A 100% match may be required depending on the grant requested.


 ❑ Property must be located within the corporate limits of the City of Milton.

❑ Applicants must have all necessary business licenses/permits/inspections. Any outstanding legal issues that could encumber the property or prohibit immediate use as a commercial or not-for-profit venture must be resolved or explained. Any proposed business/tenant must document zoning and land-use eligibility at the proposed location as part of this application. All projects must comply with the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Unified Development Code, Life Safety Code, and Florida Building Code. Applicant/owner must be up to date on all property taxes.

❑ Unoccupied properties are eligible to receive the grant but must be actively, continually, and publicly marketed on a verifiable source (CMLS, Zillow, FSBO, etc.) from the date of application until leased.

❑ Applicants must sign the program application and other related documents. Tenants may apply only with the property owner’s consent. Owners may apply only with the tenant’s consent.

❑ Applications are accepted continuously, on a first-come, first-serve basis, as long as the fund is available.

❑ Preference will be given based on the following criteria: first-time applicants; applicants with projects on Caroline Street Historic District, Willing and Stewart Streets; projects in historically significant structures; applicants with an existing active business entity; and/or projects creating a minimum of 5 full-time positions within the first year.

❑ Applicants may be eligible in multiple categories, depending upon need, priority status, and level of demand. However, applicants must clearly specify which category they are applying in and identify a preferred category.

❑ The BIP is based on the availability of funds. Grants are awarded until all funds are exhausted each fiscal year.

❑ Exterior improvements must be approved by staff for appropriateness. The applicant must meet with applicable City/County departments to determine required permits if any.

Eligible Improvements

Examples of eligible items include:
➢ ADA Handicapped Access to a building
➢ New/replacement windows and doors
➢ Restoration/preservation of windows/doors
➢ Visible portions of roofing
➢ New or replacement shutters/awnings
➢ Electrical rewiring
➢ Exterior lighting
➢ Exterior painting
➢ Restoration of architectural features
➢ Exterior structural walls
➢ Tuckpointing
➢ Equipment necessary for business expansion
➢ Parking improvements
➢ Screening/fencing
➢ Sprinkler systems
➢ Signage
➢ Business equipment
➢ Soft costs (licenses, permits, impact fees, architect/engineer cost, etc.)*
➢ Landscaping**

*Soft costs are limited to 20%. **Minor landscaping in conjunction with other improvements is eligible. The maximum amount of grant that may be spent on landscaping is 25%. Landscaping must be native to Northwest Florida, perennials and/or evergreens or other hardy species. The proposed landscaping cannot be a State of Florida invasive species or noxious weed. All landscaping aspects must be reviewed and approved by the City.

Ineligible Improvements

Examples of ineligible items include:
➢ Rent
➢ Interior modifications and/or rehabilitation not required for a change in occupancy or expansion*
➢ Removal or covering of historical or significant architectural detailing
➢ Regular/routine maintenance and repair
➢ Refinancing existing debt
➢ Owner performed labor (unless the owner is a duly licensed contractor)

*Matching funds may be used for interior project costs

Business Improvement Program Grant Categories

1. Sign Grant – Up to $1,000 to be used exclusively for new or replacement business exterior signage. No match is required. This grant is paid directly to the vendor providing the signage or paid as a reimbursement to the owner upon completion of the project and receipt of proper documentation. The Sign Grant must be approved prior to the commissioning of signage and all signage must be properly permitted in conformance with the City of Milton Sign Ordinance. Any cost above and beyond $1,000 will the responsibility of the applicant. A scale drawing of the sign is required. A sign permit must be obtained with 60 days of award of the grant.

2. Commercial Façade Grant – Up to $5,000 to be used exclusively for improvements to the exterior façade of a building. A 100% match is required. For corner lots, applicants may apply for up to $10,000 with a 100% required match. Matching funds may be used anywhere in the proposed renovation project, including interior renovations. New signage may be included as a component of a Commercial Façade Grant Application, but may not be the entire project. The grant may be paid directly to a vendor, or paid as draws. The Commercial Façade Grant must be approved prior to commencement of any work proposed to be completed with grant proceeds. All necessary project approvals and permits, if required, must be obtained within 90 days of award of the grant. A scale drawing of the project is required, along with material and color samples.

3. Business Expansion Grant – Up to $5,000 to be used to acquire equipment necessary to allow expansion of a businesses. A 100% match is required. Grants may be used for, but not limited to; required equipment/infrastructure for a change-in-use, equipment for business expansion, safety equipment, and other furniture, fixtures and equipment as approved by the City.

Additional Information

1. Buildings with multiple units under one roof may combine grant funds provided that units have separate entrances, and have been previously subdivided or partitioned such that:
a. There are separate primary entrances for each business
b. Each of the businesses has separate and distinct business tax receipts and sales tax licenses.
c. Permanent interior walls must have been in place to be considered as multiple facades, under one roof.

2. Grantees must provide the required match. For example, for a commercial façade grant of the maximum $5,000, an owner match of $5,000 is required, resulting in a total project of at least $10,000.

3. Any applicant not meeting the eligibility criteria may request consideration for an exception from the City Council, depending on the intent of the renovation.

4. The grant application must be completed and submitted to the City with the following items:
a. A detailed written explanation of the project, what funds are requested, where the match will be obtained and the total expenditure for the project.
b. Photographs of the existing building and the proposed project area.
c. Schematic drawings illustrating all proposed work, or pictures with project description outlined.
d. A description of materials and methods to be used
e. Material samples or color swatches should be provided for approval.
f. Cost estimates for each aspect of the project.

5. The applicant is advised that this grant is given at the sole discretion of the City Council of the City of Milton and the criteria are used as a basis to evaluate the Applicant's project, and does not create entitlement to funding. The application shall be reviewed by the City for completeness and eligibility prior to any approvals. The City reserves the right to waive any technical irregularity, award in-mass, partial fund, split fund, or reject all submittals. Additional, post-award requirements may be added by City Council at their sole discretion.

6. All projects must be completed within 180 days (6 months) or by the contracted date after receiving approval from the City of Milton staff and any required building permits, unless otherwise approved by the City. All work must be completed by the completion date assigned according to the contract. Incomplete projects may require reimbursement to the City, according to contract requirements.

7. If a grant is awarded, the City of Milton will determine, in coordination with the Grantee, the most appropriate method for payment. The maximum payout prior to project completion and final inspection is 75% regardless of payment type. Verification of payments, release of lien, etc. from a vendor or contractor must be presented, (canceled checks, paid invoice from vendors) prior to issuing final grant payment.

8. Grants may not be transferred to any party other than the Grantee without approval of City Council in advance.

9. Applicants maybe requested to make a presentation of their project to staff and/or City Council.


Historic Structures

Buildings will be evaluated based on historical/architectural significance, with priority given to buildings with inappropriately applied facades that cover original details (architectural features/details, windows, doors) or are unsightly, and/or out-of-scale. For historic structures, the goal of the City is to either partially or fully restore the original appearance of the building; or create an appearance that is consistent with its historic character. Proposed changes to the building’s façade to be funded by this program will not remove, alter, damage, or cover up significant architectural or historical feature(s) of the building that either are original, or reflect a major alteration that has historic architectural value.


Default of the Grant shall occur if one or more of the following takes place:

• Funded Improvements are altered, modified, removed, or demolished following project completion.
• Property is sold, transferred, or converted to 100% non-commercial use within one (1) year.
• The commercial business applicant has ceased operations for a period of forty-five (45) consecutive days or longer.
• The commercial business applicant abandons the project site.
If any of the above-referred activities occur within one (1) year of the project completion date without receiving prior City approval, grant funds shall be repaid to the City.

Business Improvement Program Process

1. Applicant must submit a complete application packet, including the following:
• Complete application form
• Detailed project narrative
• Legal description of property
• Proof of property ownership or notarized letter from owner consenting to the project
• Proof of property insurance
• Certification of sign ordinance, zoning, and future land use compliance
• Scaled drawing of improvements involving building changes
• Accurate color mock-ups and/or paint chips
• Original color photographs of existing property conditions
• Three cost estimates from qualified contractors (labor and materials for entire project). If the owner of the property is a licensed contractor and is qualified to do the work, then two additional cost estimates from qualified contractors will be required.
• Final cost estimate including name of licensed contractor chosen to perform work
• Copy of the chosen contractor’s license (if licensure is required for the work)
• Copy of City of Milton Business License

2. If requested, meeting with staff to review the project. Applicants may be requested to provide additional information.

3. Applications are forward to City Council for review and approval.

4. Project presentation (if necessary)

5. If approved, staff will prepare a grant agreement for the applicant’s signature.

6. After approval and execution of all documents, the applicant is provided with a notice to proceed.
7. Copy of all permits (if necessary)

8. Upon project completion, signed off permit from City/County Building Inspections (if necessary), receipt of the final invoice(s) from contractor(s), proof of payment, inspection by City Staff, and sign off by the property owner; the final invoice will be submitted for payment.

9. City will issue a reimbursement check to the applicant or directly pay to the vendor.



Mission Statement and Goals


The mission of the City of Milton’s Office of Economic Development is to encourage and support the start-up, retention, and expansion of businesses within the City limits, support public infrastructure improvement projects, work to attract new business opportunities in an effort to increase the local tax base and improve the quality of life for its residences. 


  1. To work with local businesses in the areas of retention and expansion by providing incentives that encourage and support business growth and job creation.
  2. Work to attract new businesses that provide new employment opportunities for the area, while increasing the local tax base to improve the quality of life for Milton residences.
  3. Work to support public infrastructure improvement projects that encourage, support, and sustain future growth for the community.

Contact Us

Office of Economic Development 

Edward. E Spears

Director of Economic Development

850-983-5400  ext. 1233

Physical/ Delivery Address

6738 Dixon Street

Milton, FL 32570

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 909

Milton, FL 32572

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