In the world of retail, the look of a storefront can make or break a business. That is why Apollo Property Management is revitalizing storefronts across Chatham-Kent thanks to the municipal Commercial Financial Incentive Program and the Downtown Financial Incentive Program. Through a combination of business investments by Apollo and the municipal grant opportunities, businesses across the region are seeing a fresh and vibrant renewal to some aging infrastructure.
“I have 180 commercial and close to 50 residential tenants,” said Fred Naclerio, owner of Apollo Property Management. “We are working to upgrade the building facades both for personal satisfaction and also because it’s a smart business practice.”
For every dollar of municipal improvement incentive, private property owners are investing approximately eight dollars. The investment strategy is an approach that, collectively adopted by property owners, can improve entire business districts, the local economy, and quality of life for residents. That, in turn, can attract new people and businesses.
In 2017, the Chatham-Kent Planning Services department allocated approximately $575,000 in grants through the Council approved Downtown Financial Incentive and the Commercial Financial Incentive Community Improvement Programs resulting in over $4.5 million in private sector investment.
While Apollo Property Management is just one of several businesses taking advantage of the programs, it is certainly a community leader in striving to have a positive impact in Chatham-Kent.
“For the majority of the properties, upgrading the exteriors did not increase the tenant’s rent,” said Naclerio. “There are a few properties we picked up that were pretty dilapidated and in dire need of facelifts, so it improved property values in those areas when we revived the facades of the buildings.”
“There is no doubt that the work being done by Fred at Apollo is helping to set a positive trend for business across Chatham-Kent,” said Geoff Wright, Economic Development Officer with Chatham-Kent Economic Development Services. “We know that when businesses have a storefront that looks inviting and open for business, it naturally attracts more customers and increases sales opportunity, staff have a greater sense of ownership and community members overall take pride in bragging about their community.”
In both programs, proposed work must meet eligibility requirements and urban design guidelines for historical or non-historical buildings. “I take pride in my properties,” says Naclerio. “I’m thankful that this program supports and contributes to my passion of reviving Chatham-Kent neighbourhoods. We’re hoping it will entice others to do the same.”
“My staff have been working closely with Apollo Property Management to help ensure that we can eliminate barriers to projects getting underway using tools like the Community Improvement Program when projects meet the eligibility requirements,” said Bruce McAllister, Director of Chatham-Kent Planning Services. “Every project can have its bumps, but when working with a business as passionate as Apollo, we can iron out any of the hiccups and move things forwards quickly.”
“The financial incentive programs have been in place for a number of years now, so in 2019, we will be undertaking a review to assess the effectiveness of these plans, respond to emerging trends, and adjust the implementation strategy accordingly. This will be done in consultation with the public, business owners and stakeholders,” added McAllister.
In addition to Municipal Council’s support for Community Improvement Planning, Naclerio says he greatly appreciates the Municipality of Chatham-Kent’s Planning Services, Building Development Services, and Economic Development Services. “There is a lot that happens administratively, pre and post construction. I tell you, whenever I’ve reached out, they’ve been fantastic at helping us through the necessary steps to get to the end.”
For Fred Naclerio, the collective improvement of Chatham-Kent’s downtown and commercial districts makes for increased prosperity and quality of life – for him, for other business people, and for the community as a whole. “I hope they keep the incentive programs going for as long as possible.“
For more information about Chatham-Kent business financial incentive programs, contact Economic Development Officer, Geoff Wright at 519-351-7700 extension 2033 or visit
New façade of Owen Flooring at 297 St. Clair Street, Chatham
New façade of the Critter Shop at 421 St. Clair Street, Chatham
New façade of the Golden Crown at 421 St. Clair Street, Chatham
New façade of the Oriole Winery at 421 St. Clair Street, Chatham. Geoff Wright, Economic Development Office with Chatham-Kent Economic Development and David Cats, Owner of Oriole Winery Ltd.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street
Chatham, ON N7M 5K8
Phone: 519.352.8401 x2039