Economic & Sustainable Development
Conditional Economic Development Grant Program Page
The primary purpose of the City of South Portland’s Economic & Sustainable Development Grants Program is to support smart development in the City of South Portland by providing financial incentives to businesses. Supporting smart development means promoting both economic development and sustainable development, because they are both intertwined and key to meeting our City’s ambitious goals as set forth in the City’s One Climate Future (OCF) Plan.
The South Portland City Council approved OCF in October 2020, a joint climate action plan with the City of Portland, committing both cities to take action to combat the climate crisis. Transportation is the largest polluting sector in Maine, and in South Portland it accounts for 32% of our greenhouse gas emissions, while commercial and industrial buildings combined account for 47% of our greenhouse gas emissions. This program, through its targeted eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria, will aim to address emissions from both of these sectors.
Summary of Grants
The City of South Portland’s Economic & Sustainable Development Grants Program is comprised of two grant options:
Grant A - Conditional Economic Development Grant, for businesses that are making significant general building and/or site improvements.
Grant B - Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Grant, for businesses that are seeking to add Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to their locations.
Applicants may apply to just one of these Grants. Applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis and must meet all eligibility requirements and criteria in these Program Guidelines to be considered.
Grant A: Conditional Economic Development Grant
The objective of the Conditional Economic Development Grant is to provide a modest level of financial assistance for operating businesses that are investing in their own buildings and/or site developments at their property as well as real estate investors who are improving existing or creating new commercial space for business tenants. The grant will provide financial assistance to qualifying businesses and property owners that are expanding existing employment levels or establishing new business operations in the City. This is intended to stimulate commercial property investment and additional job creation/retention, both of which have a significant public benefit.
Program Eligibility Criteria
- Minimum Investment in Building or Site Improvements: $100,000
- Minimum Job Creation or Retention: 15
- Jobs created/retained must be a “Quality Job” that provides benefits, including making available an employer health insurance contribution, in order to qualify.
- "Quality Job", for the purpose of this grant program, shall mean full time jobs (40 hours) or full time equivalent jobs (two 20 hour jobs = one full time equivalent job) that pay an hourly wage at least 150% of the federal minimum wage or 125% of the State of Maine minimum wage, whichever is greater.
Maximum Grant Award
Grant awards shall be made as follows:
- The amount of each grant shall be determined based on the number of qualifying jobs created or retained, the total investment being made in the building/property for development/renovation, and the demonstrated need of each applicant.
- Job creation/retention may qualify for up to $1,000 per full-time job created/retained.
- Investment in general building and site improvements may qualify for up to $5,000 per $100,000 invested.
- Investment in environmental and/or sustainability-related projects or improvements may qualify for up to 50% of costs associated with those specific project improvements, not to exceed $25,000.
- The calculation of the total grant award may take into consideration multiple qualifiers.
- Hospitality and Retail Businesses shall not be granted more than $10,000.
- Grant awards shall not exceed $50,000 to an individual business or property owner, except with approval of the South Portland City Council.
All grant applicants shall meet certain qualification standards as adopted by the City of South Portland, which should include, but are not limited to the following:
- Written certification from the applicant and all co-applicants/owners, all of whom have a five-year financial history free of:
- Tax liens,
- Foreclosures, or
- Federal bankruptcies (personal or corporate)
- Any and all previously approved development projects within the City of South Portland have been completed, as approved.
- These grants are available to for-profit business entities only and are not available for non-profit entities or non-business entities.
- These grant funds shall not be available for any residential development projects.
- Any other such requirements may be set forth by the City and approved by the City Council, and/or recommended by the City’s legal counsel for inclusion in any underwriting criteria.
- NOTE: The Application Review Team requests discretion to waive one or more of these qualifications if the failure to meet the qualifications is related to or caused by documentable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOTE: Economic Development Incentives, including the Grants Programs outlined herein, are not a right or entitlement and shall be granted at the sole discretion of the City of South Portland in accordance with the terms of the program and within the City Code.
Full-Time Employees, Elected Officials, Appointees to Committees with any oversight responsibility or authority related to this program shall not be eligible to apply for these Grants.
Grant program materials can be made available in additional languages upon request of the applicant. Please contact the Economic Development Department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more information, contact William J. Mann, Economic Development Director at the City of South Portland, at email@example.com.
Ready to Apply?
- To start the online application, click here.
- Link to blank W-9 click here.
- To download the PDF version of the application, click here.
- To view the PDF version of the Economic & Sustainable Development Grant Guidelines, click here.