Program Guidelines

Eligible Businesses

Start-ups, expansions of existing Longwood businesses, or local chains that have their corporate headquarters in Central Florida and do not currently have a location in Longwood, including:

  1. Restaurants
  2. Bakeries 
  3. Coffee shops/Ice cream parlors

Eligible Improvements

  • Permanent improvements necessary to make an existing unit or building compliant for a qualifying use, including:
  • Fire alarm or sprinkler/fire suppression systems required by law for the safe operation of the qualifying use
  • Firewall construction required by law for the safe operation of the qualifying use
  • Air conditioning system improvements
  • Electrical improvements related specifically to the conversion of an existing unit into a qualifying use
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required improvements including wheelchair access and bathroom accessibility improvements
  • Permanent, decorative façade or exterior improvements, including:
  • Expansion of an existing qualifying business
  • Façade improvements including the installation of decorative (brick or stone veneer or similar) siding, significant architectural detail elements, decorative exterior lighting, display windows, canopies, and/or awnings.
    • The project cost may include the cost of painting the building in association with other improvements, but painting alone is not a qualifying improvement.
  • Permanent improvements associated with a code-compliant outdoor seating area.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The proposed business is located in the City of Longwood and allowed by right in the Zoning District and requires no additional land use approvals.
  • The application and proposal are both consistent with all program guidelines, terms, and conditions.
  • The applicant has held a Pre-Development Inquiry Session to discuss the project and associated steps and costs.
  • The project is a qualified use as described in the Program Resolution.
  • The project adheres to established architectural and site design guidelines, including style, color and features.
  • The project is for either a business that is either new to Longwood, re-locating within Longwood, or proposing an expansion of an existing qualifying business. 
  • The project is not a major national corporate chain, but may be a local chain that has their corporate headquarters in Central Florida and does not currently have a location in Longwood.
  • The project includes either indoor or outdoor seating areas for customers.
  • The applicant and property owner have no outstanding code compliance violations or liens, have a valid Business Tax Receipt at the time of application where applicable, and are current on property taxes and City utility fees.
  • The total project cost exceeds $2,500 of eligible improvements.

Additional Terms and Conditions

  • In-kind contributions may not be used by an applicant for matching funds. Only the applicant’s cash expenditures may be used as a grant match.
  • Funds are not guaranteed in any way and applicants should not rely upon grant funding until the City specifically approves the request and a grant agreement is signed.
  • The grant agreement must be executed before any improvements are made.
  • The applicant will, upon request of the City, display a sign provided by the City indicating the business’ participation in this program for at least 30 days.
  • All contractors will be insured and licensed by the State of Florida.
  • All construction contracts will be between the applicant and contractor.
  • A successful applicant may not apply again for five years after the grant agreement date.
  • Business and/or property owners that have an ongoing lawsuit or are in any way parties to litigation against the City of Longwood are not eligible.