Three downtown buildings may get grant for facade improvement | Business
Parts of downtown Tucson are about to get a face-lift. It's all part of a project to restore historical store-fronts in preparation of the modern street car route. The Shoe City building, Pioneer building, and the Chicago Music Store are in the running to receive grants of up to $100,000 from the Downtown Tucson Partnership. The funds can be used to restore the sites.
Popular music has changed a lot since the Chicago Music Store opened its doors about 90 years ago. So has the building.
"I'd like to see the windows redone, maybe the wall on the east side. The masonry's starting to crumble," says owner Mark Levkowitz. He says somewhere behind the rust red paint and the chipped surface is the original Chicago Store which started as a dry goods market.
"The story goes that my uncle was playing in the Tucson High band, and one of his fellow band mates asked my grandmother to get some musical items for them."
The rest is history. Now the Chicago Music Store could soon get a fresh new look.
"Our façade project is designed to incentivize the building owners to bring their property back to their historic significance," says Pamela Sutherland with the Downtown Tucson Partnership.
Over the years, the group has helped revamp other sites like the Screening Room. Now the members have narrowed down three more spots to receive grants to fix storefronts.
"What we require is that the building owners or the business owners match dollar for dollar the amount that we're granting."
The grant comes from private funds, the City of Tucson, and the Tohono O'odham nation.
It's a great opportunity, says Levkowitz, who has always wanted to give the store a touch-up, but didn't have the money to do so.
"Difficult economic times, which are getting much better now."
The Downtown Tucson Partnership will announce who gets the grant at the end of April. The group says there is a chance that all three finalists will get the funds they need.
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