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FAÇADE RESTORATION ASSISTANCE (FRA)

OBJECTIVE (How)

The FRA fund provides financial assistance for new and/or existing businesses as well as new and/or existing commercial buildings that will be used to landscape, repair (including roofs, not to exceed 50% of total grant, an inspection report must be submitted from a professional roofer to establish need), repaint, renovate, improve property, or restore and rehabilitate facades.

PARTNERS

The sponsors and funders of FRA are the City’s Main Street Program, the Chamber of Commerce and its Merchants’ Association, the Pharr Historical Commission, the City’s Community Development Division, and the Main Street Board.  The Main Street Board will act as managing and monitoring entity for FRA and will work in partnership with all other sponsors and funders.

ADMINISTRATION

All applications for financial assistance under the FRA fund must be submitted to the City of Pharr’s Main Street Program for processing.  The Pharr Historical Commission will evaluate design proposals and restoration plans as part of issuing Certificates of Appropriateness.  The Main Street Board will have final approval of all projects to be funded.   Main Street staff will offer assistance to all applicants in developing and presenting all the required information for assistance.

ELEGIBILITY GUIDELINES

  1. Qualified businesses will include new/existing businesses/commercial buildings already located in the City of Pharr’s Main Street District, except for structures outside said district that have been designated by the Texas Historical Commission as historical landmarks, or by the city as city landmarks.
  2. Financial assistance must only be used to landscape, repair, renovate or improve exterior property, or restore and rehabilitate facades.
  3. All Storefront/Façade Improvements must comply with the City’s Illustrated Design Guidelines Manual and, reinforce or enhance an integrated overall image for the Main Street District, ensuring compatibility and visual relatedness to the existing building mass in the Main Street District.
  4. Upon compliance with City’s design standards, the Pharr Historical Commission shall issue a Certificate of Appropriateness.
  5. Applicant must present three (3) proposals from contractors.  At least one (1) proposal must be from a Pharr-based contractor.  Applicant must note preferred contractor.
  6. All projects must meet City of Pharr ordinances and code guidelines, including requirements set forth in the historical preservation ordinance.
  7. Qualified projects will include only those who have not begun any improvements prior to the final approval of project by the Main Street Board.
  8. All property taxes must be current in order to be eligible for FRA funding.
  9. All applications for financial assistance are subject to availability of program funds.
  10. Two-year funding will be considered on a one-to-one basis subject to the following conditions:
    • Construction/work must commence within six (6) months of final approval.
    • The project requires that it be done in phases.
    • Total financial assistance does not exceed the maximum allowed per project.

FINANCING POLICIES

  1. The Façade Restoration Assistance (FRA) fund incorporates public and private funding.  For every one dollar an applicant invests, FRA will match it at a 100% rate up to a maximum of $10,000 and a minimum of $2,500 per project, per annum (*).  Project examples follow:
  2. FRA Fund

    Min. $ 2,500

    Max. $10,000


    PROJECT  #1

    (Example)


    PROJECT  #2

    (Example)

    MERCHANTS’ SHARE

    $   2,500.00

    $ 10,000.00

    FRA SHARE

    $   2,500.00

    $ 10,000.00

    PROJECT COST

    $   5,000.00

    $ 20,000.00





     

     

     

     

    (*)  Additional grants of up to $10,000 may apply as special abatement to compliance with item 10 of Application Requirements, but overall max assistance per project should not exceed maximum allowed.

     

     

    In addition, projects exceeding $20,000 of total investment will receive 20% in additional assistance (i.e. on an incremental basis), not to exceed a total of $50,000 for overall, total maximum assistance from the FRA Fund.

     

    Projects Exceeding $20,000

     

    FRA Fund

     

    PROJECT COST:  $30k

    FRA 50% SHARE

    (First $20k)


    FRA 20% SHARE

    (Add. $10k)


    GRAND TOTALS

    FRA’s SHARE

    $       10k

    $       2k

    $   12K

    Bldg. Owner’s Out-of-Pocket

    $       10k


    $       8k

    $   18K





    FRA Fund

    PROJECT COST:  $220k


    FRA 50% SHARE

    (First $20k)


    FRA 20% SHARE

    (Add. $200k)


    GRAND TOTALS

    FRA’s SHARE

    $      10k

    $       40k

    $   50K

    Bldg. Owner’s Out-of-Pocket

    $       10k


    $       160k

    $ 170K






  3. Once approved, financial assistance will be disbursed after 50% of the project has been completed utilizing private sector funds.  Disbursement of funds will be done based on percentage of completion, and final disbursement of 10% upon completion of all work.
  4. Project Phases

    % Of City’s Total

    Disbursement

    50%  Completion

    0.0 %


    60% Completion

    20.0%

    90% Completion

    60.0%

    100% (Final) Completion

    20.0%


  5. This matching assistance is initially a five-year deferred loan with a forgiveness clause after five (5) years, provided that applicant remains in compliance with city codes and program requirements throughout said period.  The City will forgive (1/5) one fifth of the matching amount each year.  After five (5) years the said amount becomes a grant.  The City will secure the deferred loan with a soft second lien on the property issued at closing of financial transaction.  If the building owner sells the improved building during the five-year deferment period, the owner will pay the remaining balance of the matching amount.
  6. The City will disburse its participation share to a financial institution of choice (by applicant), or to the applicant after project is 60% completed.  The FRA fund is a reimbursement for work already completed, not a form of monetary assistance necessary to commence construction, or keep a project in progress.

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1.      A cover letter to include name, address, telephone number of applicant, detailed description of the nature, character, and reason for the proposed work, and timeline.

2.      The application packet shall include one (1) original photograph of the property in question, and another one (1) of adjacent properties at the time they were originally built.  In addition, a ‘brief history’ of the building, historical significance, and contribution to the historical character of the Main Street District shall be submitted.

3.      A site plan, a floor plan, a current picture and the location of the property.

4.      A design plan with detailed construction cost estimates.

5.      A work-up or specification sheet of the type of materials and colors.

6.      Elevation drawings of the proposed changes.

7.      Samples of materials to be used.

8.      If the proposal includes signs or lettering, a scale drawings showing the type of lettering to be used, all dimensions and colors, a description of materials to be used, method of illumination (if any), and a plan showing the sign’s location on the property.

9.      A ‘letter of approval’ from a local financial institution for the proposed project.

10.   Owner shall also meet Texas Historical Commission guidelines for historical research.  Entire project shall be deemed completed upon completion of all construction work, and submittal of a ‘documented, narrative history’ of the property.

In order to grant final approval of project the applicant must sign a ‘disclosure statement’ affirming the following:

1.      Applicant will attend a pre-construction workshop.

2.      The City will conduct an on-site interview.

3.      No conflict of interest exists between the applicant and contractor.  A conflict of interest is defined as ‘outside interest, outside activities or acceptance of gifts, gratuities, and entertainment’ causing a conflict of interest.

PERIOD OF COMPLIANCE

Recipients of financial assistance must complete their project within the approved number of days allowed in the construction contract (not to exceed 4 months).  Applicant has thirty (30) days from the date of the project’s final approval by the Main Street Board to commence work.  Failure to meet these requirements could result in revocation of financial assistance.

Time extensions may be granted should extenuating circumstances arise.  Requests must be made in writing and forwarded to the Main Street Board for review/action.

If the storefront is altered for any reason within five (5) years from storefront completion, the grant recipient agrees to reimburse the city of Pharr immediately for the full amount of the grant.  As guarantee, a second lien shall be issued for the length of the project.

 

PERIODIC REVIEW

The policies shall be reviewed, and amended, if appropriate, by a 2/3 vote of the Main Street Board (or its designated partner). Failure of the Board to review the policies and procedures pursuant to this section shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the most recent policies and procedures approved by the Main Street Board (or its designated partner).

MAIN STREET DISTRICT

The Main Street District consists of four (4) core areas.  These areas will be prioritized:

  • PHASE I: East Park (i.e. Section A) of the Pueblo Americano District), and the Pueblo Mejicano District (i.e. Section B).
  • PHASE II and beyond:  West Park (i.e. Section D), and South Cage Blvd. (i.e. Section D).

For purposes of FRA funding, all other areas along South Cage Blvd. from U.S. Expressway 83 to Ridge Rd. and along Old Business 83 from Sugar Rd. to “I” Road may be included, provided that all requirements as cited above are met.

For additional information on the program, please contact Main Street Office at (956) 702-5335 or email [email protected]

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