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Downtown Fond du Lac Business Brochure
Looking to open, relocate or expand your business? Downtown Fond du Lac is poised for dynamic growth that will impress you. Major investment by the public and private sectors are getting the attention of commercial and residential developers. Now is the time for you to consider downtown Fond du Lac as the place to expand your business.
Downtown Fond du Lac Financial Assistance Programs
A variety of assistance programs have been created to help you expand, relocate or open your business in downtown Fond du Lac. These programs have been designed to set downtown Fond du Lac apart from other locations you might be considering. The programs have been designed to keep paperwork and complications to a minimum wherever possible.
Aside from financial assistance programs, we can provide guidance in creating a business plan, locating a property to lease or own, and finding partnerships between tenants and business owners. All free of charge.
Downtown Fond du Lac Design Guidelines
The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership's Design Review Board has authored, "Design Guidelines, A Guide to Building Rehabilitation, Renovation and New Construction". The Design Guidelines are the result of collaborative work between the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership's Design Review Board and the City of Fond du Lac Community Development Department. The guidelines will be used in evaluating DFP facade grant applications and for proposals for changes to downtown properties. It is the hope of the DFP that property and business owners will use these guidelines to make decisions that will enhance their property and the district overall.
Downtown Property Design Renderings
Downtown property design renderings are available to building owners or tenants. The property must be located within the Downtown Business Improvement District. As a free service from the Wisconsin Main Street (WMS) Program the renderings can be used before a building is purchased or leased in order to show the renovation possibilites of the property. With owner/tenant input the architect on staff at the WMS will design a renovation rendering based on historic photos and current condition of the building. Administered by the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. Contact Amy Hansen for more information.
Downtown Facade Design Assistance Grant
Grant program available for building owners or tenants in the Downtown Business Improvement District. The grant will provide up to $4,000 in funding to assist in the research and design of façade improvements. 75% of design costs (architectural and historical research costs) are reimbursed when the design is complete and approved by the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership’s (DFP) Design Review Board. 25% balance is reimbursed upon completion of the project. This grant is intended to promote good building design, and provide a solid plan for renovation projects. One grant per property address. Administered by Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. Contact Amy Hansen for more information.
Downtown Facade Grant
The DFP has a matching grant program to stimulate exterior building improvements in the partnership. The purpose of the program is to provide matching grants (up to $1,000) to existing commercial buildings for preservation, restoration and maintenance. Any property owner or tenant who receives the business improvement district assessment may submit an application. Only one grant per property will be allowed each year. A design review board administers the grant program. Some of the eligible activities under this program include tuckpointing and design improvements. Priority is given to front facades even though rear and side building improvements are eligible. Roof repairs, construction of new buildings and interior improvements are ineligible activities of the grant program. If interested in applying for a façade grant, download the program guidelines and a copy of the application. Administered by Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. Contact Amy Hansen for more information.
City of Fond du Lac Economic Development Revolving Loan Program
Available to property owners or tenants. Maximum loan is $200,000 and minimum loan amount is $10,000. There must be at least one private dollar ($1.00) spent for each public dollar in the project. The general interest rate is zero to four (0-4%) percent for a maximum loan term of seven to ten (7-10) years. Eligible uses of funds include: property acquisition (loan recipient's business must occupy 50% of building), architectural fees, site preparation, machinery/equipment, and working capital. At least 51% of the jobs created must be available to low-and-moderate income persons. Up to $20,000 can be loaned for each full-time position created. The business must stay within the City of Fond du Lac for the term of the loan. Loan applicant must submit a business plan for review. Administered by the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation. Contact FCEDC for more information.
Downtown Microenterprise Loan Program
Available to tenants in the Business Improvement District. Business must have five (5) or fewer employees, one of which is the owner of the business; or a person developing a microenterprise means an individual who has expressed interest in and who are, after initial screening process are expected to be actively working towards developing a business. The owner(s) of the microenterprise must be low-and-moderate income. Maximum loan amount is $50,000. Loans are provided to help establish, stabilize and expand microenterprises; or provide technical assistance, advice and business services to owners of microenterprises and persons developing microenterprises. The loan term is for seven to ten (7-10) years at zero (0%) interest. Administered by Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation. Contact FCEDC for more information.
Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation Loan Program
A loan program available to building owners or tenants for properties located within the Downtown Business Improvement District for exterior renovations of commercial buildings. Minimum loan amount is $20,000; maximum is $100,000. There must be at least one private ($1.00) dollar spent for each public dollar in the project. The general interest rate is zero (0%) percent for a maximum loan term of ten (10) years. Any rehabilitation work on a property designated as historic shall require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission and/or State Historic Preservation office. Loans provided under the Commercial Rehabilitation program will require compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act, including prevailing wage rates. Administered by Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation and City of Fond du Lac Community Development. Contact FCEDC for more information.
Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program
Available to property owners. The loan program applies only to the residential units within a mixed-use building (no commercial rehabilitation). Maximum loan is $24,999 for the first unit and $5,000 for each additional unit. The building must have less than seven (7) units. The unit must be rented to low-and-moderate income persons. Rent limits apply. For example, a one bedroom unit cannot be rented for more than $490 per month (includes utilites). The loan is 0-4% interest, repayable over 15 years. Repayment starts within 6 months from the loan closing date. Administered by the City of Fond du Lac Community Development. Contact Dyann Benson for more information.
Business Improvement District (BID) Map
In 1999, the council received approval from downtown property owners to create a Business Improvement District (BID), and the initial Operating Plan was approved by the Fond du Lac City Council. District boundaries are, roughly, Main Street from Follett Street on the north to Ninth Street on the south, and encompassing several side streets east and west of Main.
In order to better understand the conditions and concerns of downtown business owners in Fond du Lac, a business owner survey was undertaken to collect comprehensive business information about needs and opportunities, business and workforce data, and market and marketing data. The following document provides a summary of the responses collected in the survey.
The DFP completed a market analysis done by CommunityFutures, Inc. of Denver, Colorado. The Market Analysis provided the DFP with information on where we are now and where we need to go in the future. We will be using the information gained through the Market Analysis to create the roadmap for the future.