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Uptown Community Improvement Plan

City of Waterloo

The City of Waterloo is inviting interested organizations, property owners and/or commercial tenants in the Uptown Community Improvement Plan (CIP) project area to participate in this year's round of Uptown CIP Programs. 

Program and Application Schedule

The Fall 2018 round of applications has now closed. Dates for a Spring, 2019 round will be announced in the new year.

Please note that a pre-application meeting is required prior to submitting an application.

For information on Major Activity Grants and Parking Exemptions, which are available year round, please contact our office.

There are several ways uptown businesses, developers and investors can participate in this program.

Matching Grants

Façade Improvement Grant

  • This grant is intended to improve the appearance of the streetscape and buildings, and conserve heritage properties in the CIP project area.

  • A maximum matching grant of $10,000 per street-facing façade or $15,000 where improvements are occurring on both street facing frontages on a corner lot, is available.

  • An additional matching grant of up to $5,000 per building is available where a property is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

  • The UpTown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) has provided a temporary increase to the value of Façade Improvement Grants available to  non-residential businesses who are members of the BIA.

Study Grant 

  • This program is intended to encourage interested parties to prepare and submit high quality professional urban design studies and drawings, as well as heritage feasibility studies and assessments to the City of Waterloo.

  • There is a matching grant of up to $3,000 per project/property.

Fee Grant

  • This grant is intended to facilitate renovations and small expansions by offsetting municipal planning and development fees. The maximum grant available is $10,000 per property/project. 

Major Activity Grant

  • This grant is intended for large re-urbanization projects (over 5,000 square feet) that create new floor space for affordable housing units and/or non-residential uses that include an office employment component.

  • This grant provides a tax increment grant (TIG) equal to a portion or full amount of the estimated property tax increase after a property is redeveloped and reassessed.

  • Additional incentives will be provided for developments that include heritage conservation and/or sustainable building design.

Minor Activity Grant 

  • This grant is intended to facilitate small expansions and new construction that create spaces of up to 464.5 square metres (5,000 square feet) for affordable housing units and/or office employment uses.

  • The program also provides additional incentive for development that includes heritage conservation and/or sustainable building design. There is a maximum grant of $50,000 per project/property.


Commercial Building Improvement Loan

  • This loan will help fund interior renovations and maintenance that improve the usability and/or accessibility of non-residential buildings within the CIP project area.

  • There is a maximum interest-free loan of $30,000 with a five-year term and potential partial loan forgiveness.


Parking Exemption Program

  • This program will facilitate small non-residential (with emphasis on office) expansions or changes in use where the developer is unable to provide the on-site parking as required by the City's Zoning By-law.


More information

A pre-application meeting is required. To schedule your pre-application meeting or for more information on these programs and the Major Activity Grant Program and Parking Exemption Program (available year-round), please contact Economic Development staff. 

For applicants with projects that require site plan approval, please contact Economic Development staff to discuss timelines and the CIP process. All projects must receive CIP approval before an application for a sign and/or building permit is submitted.


Sandy Little
Senior Economic Development Officer
P: 519-747-6064