Startup landing pad grant program


The City of Kitchener offers a grant program for property owners of Downtown Kitchener 2nd storey and above underutilized building spaces and startups to access leasehold and accessibility improvement funds.

Objectives of the Startup Landing Pad Program are:

  1. To assist emerging startup companies transition from accelerator programs, incubator facilities, and short-term lease space into more permanent locations in downtown Kitchener;
  2. To assist property owners and tenants with the financing of interior leasehold improvements and/or accessibility improvements to upper storey (2nd storey and higher) properties located within the Downtown Community Improvement Area in the form of a grant;
  3. To enable the city to repair, rehabilitate or improve buildings on land it holds or acquires, and to sell, lease or dispose of any such buildings and land for the purpose of establishing Startup Landing Pads;
  4. To implement the city's urban design and heritage conservation policies, and
  5. To support municipal investments in Downtown Kitchener infrastructure. 


    Grants are only considered for proposals:

    • In buildings with 2nd-stories and above
    • Startups endorsed by a program partner
    • Only those properties located within the Downtown Community Improvement Area, with commercial uses on 2nd-stories and above, are eligible
    • Only those applications which satisfy the city's downtown design policies and the city's King Street façade guidelines will be eligible to receive grants
    • If the total value of all grants applied for exceeds the amount of funding available, all applications will be rated based on predetermined criteria at the discretion of city staff
    • Other eligibility criteria as they may apply

    Eligible work

    Leasehold improvements

    Leasehold improvements can either be undertaken by property owners, who may offer to do so to increase the marketability of their rental units, or by the tenants themselves. Grants will only be issued for non-temporary leasehold improvements, which generally includes the following list of eligible works:

    • Installation, change, repair and/or restoration of partitions, rooms
    • Installation, repair or reinstall of plumbing, heating, HVAC, electrical, fixtures, cable, telephone, fibre and other service-specific installations
    • Change, repair, re-install of flooring, ceiling, walls, fixed cabinets and other structurally permanent elements
    • Painting, repainting, or re-facing of interior platforms, walls, and any surfaces
    • Install, repair or restoration of masonry, brickwork or wood
    • Install, replacement, repair or restoration of other architectural features
    • Install, replacement or repair of windows
    • Entranceway modifications that improve the appearance and/or access to the commercial unit(s)
    • Redesign and reconstruction of the front of building
    • Machinery and equipment if bolted to the floor
    • Demolition or removal of fixtures, structural and non-conforming or hazardous materials
    • Installation of appropriate new interior signage or improvements to existing signage
    • Installation or repair of interior lighting and
    • Restoration of historic features

    Accessibility improvements

    Accessibility improvements are undertaken by property owners and applied to amenities, common areas or infrastructure of the entire building for the purpose of increasing accessibility, usability and access to the benefit of the entire building. Eligible works include the following non-temporary common area building improvements:

    • Installation, repair or reinstall of permanent accessibility devices such as elevators, lift assistance, ramps, railings, and stairs
    • Installation, repair or reinstall of assistive way finding assets such as braille, audio  (signal), and other sensory assistive devices
    • Installation, repair or reinstall of accessible washroom, kitchen, shower, and/or storage facilities
    • Installation, repair or reinstall of common-area building use facilities such as shared hallways, stairwells, upper-storey entryways and lobbies, bicycle storage, shared meeting rooms and spaces, and
    • Installation, repair or reinstall of permanent fixtures, barrier-free access and/or the built environment related to improved accessibility

    Examples of non-eligible expenses:

    • Any non-permanent or removable fixtures
    • Any furnishings, including office and common area furnishings, computers, and art
    • Any intangible assets, such as software, human resources, outsourced services, etc.
    • Any consumables, such as mats, office supplies, stationery, plants, etc.
    • Regular interior building signage such as corporate logos, marketing/advertising, digital signage, etc.
    • Any items specific to the proposed current tenant which would be deemed unusable or undesirable to future tenants
    • Corrections to comply any Building Code, Fire Code or Property Standards orders and
    • Taxes, levies, interest, permit fees, or other incidental fees

    How to apply

    mandatory pre-application meeting prior to submitting any application is required to ensure your application is considered. The pre-application meeting ensures your application will:

    • Meet our urban-design policies and general building guidelines
    • Be of high-quality, sufficient, and appropriate work
    •  Include appropriate documentation
    • Will receive a high evaluation score and prioritization

    All successful grant applications will be subject to the terms and conditions of our Downtown Community Improvement Plan.


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