Since 1986, the Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) [Council Policy 900-17] has provided free conceptual design service and a financial incentive based on the resulting construction costs to small business owners that possess a valid Business Tax Certificate.
The City’s Economic Development Division administers the program and selects projects that provide the greatest public benefit to commercial districts in need of revitalization. Each application is reviewed for eligibility and evaluated based on current condition of the building/façade, community need/demand for change, and creative value of the project, among other criteria.
For more information, including examples of completed projects, visit the City of San Diego Storefront Improvement Program at:
What’s New? The City has recently stream-lined the SIP process, making it easier for small businesses to participate and shortening the start-to-finish time involved.
CURRENT NEWS ( as of November 10, 2015)
Council Policy 900-17 Revisions
New additions/changes will be posted here once they become approved by the City Council. Some of the major changes include the following:
Expand the eligibility to businesses with 25 employees. Eliminate the Public Art category to allow all participants to incorporate public art into their projects.
Incentive Formula changes: Standard incentive -1/2 eligible expenses up to $8000; Property owners incentive: 1/2 eligible expenses up to $16,000; Historic Restoration incentive: 2/3 eligible expenses up to $12,000; Permit Assistance: 1/2 eligible expenses up to $5000.
These changes/additions were approved by the Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee on October 22, 2015. The next step will be a hearing at the City Council in early 2016.