Las Vegas offers grants to owners who upgrade apartments

In an effort to improve curb appeal and add amenities to Las Vegas apartments, the city is offering grants to property owners who spruce up residences.

The new program, the first time city redevelopment grant dollars have targeted residential projects, is aimed at enhancing multifamily buildings with at least four units.

To qualify for the grants, property owners need to spend at least $20,000 per unit, said Shani Coleman, the city’s redevelopment manager.

“We want significant improvements that really make a difference in a neighborhood,” Coleman said.

The city’s redevelopment agency approved two companion residential grant programs earlier this month, with an initial allocation of $300,000. Properties must be in designated redevelopment areas to be eligible.

The residential unit improvement program will give property owners a 50 percent rebate up to $50,000 for renovations and upgrades at existing residential properties with at least four units. Projects that convert office, retail or industrial properties to apartments or condos also qualify.

Adding amenities like granite counter tops, seen more often in suburban apartments and condos than downtown, could draw people in, Coleman said.

The companion residential visual improvement program provides a 50 percent rebate up to $25,000 for substantially upgrading the outside appearance of multifamily residential properties with at least four units. In certain targeted redevelopment areas, that rebate can be as high as $50,000.

The two grant programs can be combined, but the combined total rebate for a renovation or conversion project is capped at $95,000.

The city has seen a lot of participation in a similar program aimed at improving commercial properties, Economic and Urban Development Director Bill Arent said.

“This is the next wave of trying to fix up and beautify downtown,” Arent told city officials at a Nov. 1 redevelopment agency meeting before the vote.

The city’s downtown master plan has a goal of adding roughly 1,500 new market-rate housing units throughout downtown, to help fill the mid-market gap between high-end high-rise condominiums and low-end dwellings.

“There really wasn’t that middle market tier your downtown worker could live in,” Coleman said.

The city has gotten a lot of interest in the program, Coleman said.

“I think if what we’ve heard anecdotally, if (developers) actually turn in applications, that will help us move the needle toward building a downtown rich with people living in it,” Coleman said.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

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