Small Business Incentives and Rebate Programs

Facade Grant Program

Incentives Before and AfterThe City’s Economic Development Strategy includes a Strategic Goal to “Support small and local businesses” including establishment of small business incentives. To implement this priority, Emeryville’s City Council worked with staff to develop revitalize the façade grant program; a tool which supports small businesses through financial assistance for the rehabilitation and upgrade of commercial buildings including interior modifications where appropriate. 

The Façade Improvement Program has two distinct but related opportunities:

1. Improve the appearance of the City’s neighborhood commercial areas by encouraging upgrade of dilapidated commercial buildings

2. Encourage small businesses to lease vacant commercial properties by lowering the capital outlay required for tenant improvements. 

Eligible Properties: All commercial building facades located on San Pablo Avenue, Park Avenue and Adeline Street; in areas designated as Neighborhood Retail Overlay and those buildings designated Significant Structures by the Emeryville Planning Regulations are eligible for Façade Grants. If the applicant business is a tenant, the building owner must also apply as co-applicant. Applicants must have no active investigations pending for violations of City codes, including the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance, or other City regulations. See page 9 of the Façade Grant Program Guidelines (link below).

New construction projects and buildings occupied by the following types of businesses are ineligible for funding: gun stores, pawn shops, check cashing businesses, liquor stores, Adult Oriented Businesses (as defined by Section 9-2.303 of the City Planning Regulations), cigarette stores, video game and gambling establishments. Finally, businesses that have received a façade improvement grant within the past seven years from the application due date are not eligible for funding. Grants of up to $75,000 are available and specific deadlines apply. 

For more information regarding eligible improvements and process requirements please review the Façade Grant Program Guidelines  approved by Council in May 2017. The 2017-18 program resulted in $200,000 in grants being awarded to five applicants and included grant awards for items such as exterior wall repairs, landscape and lighting improvements at the street, seismic retrofit studies/associated construction proposals, and related permit fees. The 2018-19 program’s call for applications will open on Monday, October 29th and end at 5 pm on Thursday, November 30th, 2018.

Please contact Emi Theriault, Community and Economic Development Coordinator to discuss your proposal at The above-referenced link to the Program Guidelines provides the following helpful documents:

  • Process Checklist (page 8)

  • Facade Grant Application Form (pages 10-11)

Rebate Programs

The City’s Economic Development Strategy includes a Strategic Goal to “Support small and local businesses” including establishment of small business incentives. To implement this priority, Emeryville’s City Council worked with staff to develop a program that provides for rebates to small, independent restaurant and retail business owners. Current available rebates include:

  • Business License Tax Rebates
  • Fire Inspection Fee Rebates
  • Cabaret License Fee Rebates
  • Sidewalk Sign Permit Fee Rebates

Guidelines for the program were originally approved by Council in February of 2017 and the program was expanded in April 2020. These Program Guidelines outline the Rebate Program, including eligibility criteria and application requirements such as:

  • The “Business License Tax Rebate Application Form” may be used for requests for one or all of the following: Business License Tax, Fire Inspection Fee, Cabaret License Fee, and/or Sidewalk Sign Permit Fee rebates.
  • Applications require submittal of your business’ W-9 form in order to allow our Finance Department staff to issue a check for the requested rebate. All applications must be signed by the business owner or co-owner on record with the City.
  • Note: All applications will be processed on a first come first served basis as well as compliance with program guidelines such as eligibility.

Applicants may submit an application online.


Before you submit online read this! Please make sure you have your W9 ready. Online applications require applicants to scan the application form (please use pdf or jpeg format) and to provide an electronic signature. Links to submit the W9 electronic document and your signature are provided in the online form. If you have any questions regarding your application or eligibility, please contact our Small Business support staff person, Emi Thériault, at