ViBe Creative District Matching Grants Awarded to Two Businesses

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

​Virginia Beach Economic Development, in collaboration with the Office of Cultural Affairs and the ViBe Creative District, approved two new grants from the ViBe Creative District Matching Grant program. The grants are designed to provide financial support to small and locally-owned and operated businesses located within the ViBe Creative District.

The Jones Family Trust, 532 17th St. The Jones Family Trust has been awarded a matching grant in the amount of $5,297. The grant will fund improvements to the façade of the building by converting a large garage door into a fixed wall with an exit door and large window. The space will be transformed into a new fully equipped 16'x12' pottery classroom with commercial glass storefront windows and door to support their future tenant, the Virginia Beach Art Center (VBAC). The VBAC is a new nonprofit creative organization that will lease 6,100 square feet of space in the building from the Jones Family Trust. The VBAC will be a comprehensive art center serving the needs of the community with additional studios for artists, a dedicated art classroom, a pottery program and a beautiful, large exhibition space for monthly exhibitions. VBAC will bring a larger local art presence to the ViBe Creative District, and will draw patrons to neighboring businesses such as Commune, Barrel 17 and other shops.

Bad Ass Coffee Company, 619 18th St. The company has been awarded a grant to improve the exterior of the building with custom murals. Milene Gengler, co-owner of the business, also has plans to replace existing box signs with two hand-painted signs with lighting. The project has been approved for a matching grant in the amount of $3,724.

"There is tremendous interest in the ViBe Creative District.  Our matching grant program along with private sector investments are beginning to improve facilities, increase property values and enhance customer experiences in the District," said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris.

ViBe Creative District Matching Grants are to be used for building improvements, equipment to expand or modernize businesses and façade improvements. Types of improvements funded include enhanced entrances or storefronts, lighting, fencing, signage, landscaping, parking upgrades and open-air café spaces. Projects must make a demonstrable improvement to the property, and the funding is intended to encourage and support economic development and job growth within the District. Grant applications and additional information are available at

ViBe Creative District was established to attract creative industries to a section of the Virginia Beach oceanfront that was identified for revitalization. It was once an incubator for small and emerging businesses. In 2015, the City of Virginia Beach established the boundary of the District by ordinance and declared it "an arts and cultural district and technology zone" with incentives established by the Virginia General Assembly. The ViBe Creative District's purpose is to serve as a vibrant center for the arts, culture and technology.

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