Latest News

2014 Neighborhood Business Awards

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Uptown Business Improvement District looks for support

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Business Awards Bestowed

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A Big Night for Small Business Owners

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22nd Annual Neighborhood Business Awards Nominee list

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Business Programs and Assistance

(Re)STORE Grand Rapids

Business recruitment & retention initiative

(Re)STORE Grand Rapids is a business recruitment program to track and fill vacancies in neighborhood commercial areas with an appropriate business-mix. Using up-to-date market research and on-the-ground knowledge, Neighborhood Ventures will help you find the right location for your business or right business for your building. 

Contact Mark Lewis or (616)301-3929

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Corridor Improvement District/Business Improvement Districts

Assisting areas in developing tax leveraging tools that help fund qualifying district improvements

Neighborhood Ventures assists neighborhood business districts develop Corridor Improvement Districts (CIDs). CIDs are Tax Increment Financing (TIF) tool that helps fund qualifying public infrastructure improvements, marketing initiatives, and economic growth projects (streets, sidewalks, lighting, public parks, advertising campaigns, etc).    

Neighborhood Ventures has assisted with the first two CIDs in the City of Grand Rapids, Uptown and Madison Square. Click here for a Uptown Corridor Improvement Authority Board meeting schedule.  The Madison Square Corridor Improvement Authority Board was appointed on Tuesday, February 9th.  More info will follow in the coming weeks.


What is a CID?

  • An area designated by the city to revitalize commercial and mixed-use business corridors that are located outside traditional downtowns. One of the main ways that a CID helps fund qualifying public infrastructure improvements, marketing initiatives and economic growth projects is through the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
  • Corridor Improvement Districts (CIDs) are established and operated in Michigan under Public Act 280 of 2005 and in Grand Rapids under City Policy 900-49

What are the benefits of creating a Corridor Improvement District?

  • Provides a reliable and sustainable funding source to make district improvements by redistributing a portion of the property taxes that you are already paying.
  • Improves the district to attract more visitors and residents from surrounding neighborhoods, generating potential for increase in sales and customers for the district.
  • An improved district attracts new businesses to locate in the area, having a positive effect on districts which are struggling with high vacancy rates.
  • Promotes economic growth, encourages investment and corrects and prevents deterioration in long-established commercial corridors.
  • Increases the amount of both public and private investment in a community through new development projects and programs that improve the local economy and the quality of life for residents.
  • Can provide for business needs by increasing the availability of realistic approaches to business development and enhancements such as fašade improvement programs, parking and streetscape improvements and marketing and branding campaigns.
  • Creates a public-private partnership with the City that gives enhanced local input over where ad-valorem tax money is spent to improve the district.
  • Provides economic resources for marketing, public/private infrastructure improvements, policy advocacy, parking and transportation improvements, streetscape improvements, fašade improvement programs, business recruitment, and lighting and security.  However, funds cannot be used for general maintenance of the district.

Business Improvement Districts

Neighborhood Ventures also assists neighborhood business districts in implementing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), a special assessment tool to fund improvement projects.  BIDs fund qualifying projects that aren't available under a CID including maintenance, safety, marketing, and beautification projects (trees, flowers, banners, wastebaskets, clean-up crews, special events, etc.). 

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Face Forward Facade Program

Facade improvement reimbursement grants awarded to neighborhood business and commercial property owners for building improvements

Restored storefronts improve the pedestrian environment, attract more customers, and encourage economic development and investment.

The Face Forward Facade Program is a 40% matching grant up to $4,000 for improvement projects to building exteriors. All applicants must be pre-approved for a Face Foward Facade grant. Currently, Neighborhood Ventures is working with funders to expand the facade program to add flexibility to both developers and business/property owners.  Stay tuned in the next couple months for more information. 

For more information please contact Mark Lewis at or (616) 301-3929.

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Design First Clinics

Clinics facilitated by architects for neighborhood business and commercial property owners to assist them in facade design projects

Volunteer architects work one-on-one with neighborhood business owners to conceptualize improvements for their properties. Design_First_Cinic_9.JPG

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Branding and Marketing

Assisting districts wih creating and implementing brands, marketing strategies and cooperative advertising tools.

Neighborhood Ventures helps districts create and implement brands, marketing strategies, special events, campaigns and cooperative advertising tools to increase awareness of and improve the image of our neighborhood business districts.  NV provides technical assistance and organizing assistance to interested business association or community collaborations who desire to enhance the image and attract customers to their area.

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Infrastructure Improvement

Assisting districts in designing and implementing public infrastructure improvement projects

Neighborhood Ventures spearheads Public Infrastructure Improvements in neighborhood business areas (such as brick streets, ornamental street lighting, increased/improved street trees, built in green spaces, gateway projects,etc) by working with  community partners, including but not limited to, the City of Grand Rapids and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

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Neighborhood Business Alliance

Neighborhood Ventures and the Neighborhood Business Alliance partner to better serve the needs of the neighborhood business districts and their organizing efforts

The Neighborhood Business Alliance (NBA) is made up of representatives from all 20 neighborhood associations, who meet together monthly to coordinate city-wide services, share best practices, and advocate on issues effecting neighborhood businesses and districts. The NBA and Neighborhood Ventures partner to serve  neighborhood business districts and the neighborhood businesses located within them. 

Grand Rapids Business Districts

Alger Heights

Boston Square

Cheshire Village


Divison South


East Fulton

East Hills


Grandville Ave


Madison Square

Monroe North

Seymour Square


Wealthy Street

West Fulton

West Leonard

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1514 Wealthy Street SE
Suite 214
Grand Rapids, MIá 49506

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