Project Restore 2.0

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Project Restore

Overview

​The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) activates vacant buildings, supports small businesses, creates jobs, improves commercial corridors, and increases local economic activity by providing financial support to place-based economic development organizations working to improve the vitality of Maryland’s commercial corridors.

Who Can Apply

Unlike prior rounds of the program, for FY2024 the program will be administered as a block-grant to place-based economic development organizations. Place-based economic development organizations can apply to receive funds to activate vacant buildings in the jurisdiction they serve. The organizations, if awarded, will sub-grant the funds to for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, cooperatively-owned businesses, and social enterprises to start up or expand to vacant buildings. Please note, small businesses will not be eligible to apply directly to Project Restore 2.0 in the next round.     

Place-based economic development organizations are non-profit or local government entities that work to improve a specific jurisdiction within the state, whose mission and work substantially contribute to the economic development and/or historic preservation of the local business district/s and whose programs and activities support the small businesses within the jurisdiction they serve.     

Examples of place-based economic development organizations are Main Street programs, Arts & Entertainment Districts​ and community development organizations. To locate place-based economic development organizations in an area, you can reach out to the economic development agency for that area; see list of agencies​​. You can also reach out to program staff at dhcd.projectrestore@maryland.gov for guidance.     

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, an applicant must be a place-based economic development organization working within a state-designated Sustainable Community and also meet at least one of the following criteria:     

  • One of the state’s 34 designated Main Street Maryland communities;
  • One of Baltimore City’s 8 designated Main Street neighborhoods;
  • One of the designated Arts & Entertainment districts;
  • An IRS-determined nonprofit organization whose mission and work substantially contributes to the economic development and/or historic preservation of the local business district/s and whose programs and activities support the small businesses within the district; or
  • A local government entity.

Please note that eligible organizations can apply together in partnership to request funding for the same geographic program area, but may not duplicate efforts in the same geography. Partners must collaborate on an application or differentiate the areas they will cover in separate applications.     

Additionally, an applicant must meet all the following threshold criteria:     

  • Registered and in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT); and;
  • Based in Maryland and serve Maryland communities and populations; and
  • The entity and the vacant property/s must be located in a DHCD-designated Sustainable Community; and
  • Have at least a 0.5 FTE dedicated, paid staff member.

Grant applications should relate to / advance one or more of Governor Moore and Secretary Day’s priorities, listed below.     

Governor Moore’s priorities:
  • End child poverty in Maryland
  • Ensure world-class health systems for Marylanders
  • Advance infrastructure to connect Marylanders to opportunity and each other
  • Make Maryland a desirable and affordable home for all
  • Interrupt violence, prevent crime, and protect Maryland
  • Make Maryland the greenest state in the country
  • Increase Maryland’s economic competitiveness
  • Set Maryland’s students up for success
  • Connect Marylanders to jobs
  • Make Maryland a state of service
Secretary Day’s priorities:
  • Provide shelter for all
  • Expand affordable housing
  • Right the wrongs of the past
  • Make lovable places
  • Connect all Marylanders

Use of Funds/Grant Term

Grant awardees (place-based economic development organizations) will provide property improvement grants to sub-grantees (for-profit, non-profit, cooperatives, social enterprises) located within the jurisdiction they serve. 

The intent of the program is to support downtown and historic commercial corridors; the focus of the program is on street-level retail that activates vacant buildings in a commercial corridor and supports a walkable business district. 

Grant requests can range from a minimum of $30,000 to a maximum of $300,000. 

Unlike prior rounds of funding of the program, there is no minimum length of time the property has to have been vacant to be eligible. Verification of a vacant property will be provided by grantees, if awarded. Only commercial uses of the vacant building are eligible. 

Vacant building does not mean the entire building has to be vacant. For example, if one property has three tenant spaces and two are vacant, the two vacant properties are eligible. 

During the grant term, eligible use of the funds includes: 

  • Rent payments;
  • Renovation and fit out of the building (interior and/or exterior);
  • Furniture, fixtures and equipment;
  • Up to 15% of the total request may go toward operating costs, such as the salary of (new or existing) staff members responsible for attraction, retention, and support of sub-grantees and other related costs.

Property acquisition is not an eligible use of grant funds. 

DHCD will coordinate with the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) after funding decisions are made to ensure compliance as necessary for each property activated with grant funds. 

By the end of the grant period all sub-grantees will need to be fully operational in the formerly vacant building. 

Individual grant amounts may be reduced relative to requests, including for operating support, if demand exceeds available funding.​ 

Application Process​

The application for the next round of the program will open on Monday, March 13, 2024 at 8am EST. The deadline to submit applications will be Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 5pm EST. 

Applications will be submitted via the Maryland OneStop Portal​, which will open March 13, 2024. View the sample ap​plication​. 

We will be offering training sessions and 1:1 technical support throughout the application process. Virtual and in-person training sessions are below:   

Be sure to review the program FAQs​ for answers to commonly asked questions we've been getting about the program. We will be updating this document regularly throughout the application process.   

To be alerted when the application is open, please sign up for DHCD's news and alerts​.   

More Information

Kristin Dawson
Project Manager, Community and Economic Development Partnerships
Division of Neighborhood Revitalization
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
2 North Charles Street, Suite 450
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
E: dhcd.projectrestore@maryland.gov
P: 410-209-5847