Opportunities and Incentives

Central City has a number of opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers including a start-up space program, rebate program and several tax credits and incentives. Our building inventory and list of historic downtown businesses and buildings for sale offer details on current business and development opportunities as well. 

As an accredited Main Street community, we are able to work with you and the Colorado Main Street (COMS) Program's professional architect to provide historic preservation and design services. This service is funded through a generous grant from History Colorado's State Historical Fund. The Colorado Main Street architect provides technical assistance in the following areas:

  • Preservation research, drawings, and written recommendations in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. 
  • Technical preservation guidance, such as site visits, research, recommendations, facilitating connections with programs and consultants, and other means of supporting Main Street historic preservation. 
  • Assist Main Street programs with community engagement, report writing, and in emergency situations.
  • Conduct on-site services including property inspections and building/business owner consultations.
  • Collaborate to provide the best direction for long-term preservation efforts.

If you have questions about this service, please contact Lisa Roemhildt to get connected with COMS. 

In 2016, Main Street Central City worked with a consultant funded through the Colorado Main Street Program to complete a business and building inventory. The results revealed 7 sales between 2014 to 2017 and 6 commercial listings – a bed & breakfast, former casino, a current casino and brewery, a retail location and two development opportunities – with properties ranging from $73.65/sq. ft. to $581.61/sq. ft. and two casino development opportunities.

View the complete Building and Business Inventory Deliverables with the below links:


The Clear Creek Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) has been in existence since 1985 and has loaned approximately $7.4M in business loans and leveraged $17.6M in the communities it serves. The CCEDC administers five types of loan programs to meet the needs of most small to medium size businesses in Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties. 

  • CDBG Loans draw down new funds from the State and are loaned out starting at the prime rate. The lending limit is $100,000 and the funds are tied directly to job creation - with one job credited for every $20,000 borrowed. Loans above $100,000 require State approval. These funds can be used to purchase real estate, for working capital, furniture, fixtures and equipment and inventory. 
  • Loans from CCEDC’s Revolved Funds have more flexibility in terms of uses, terms and rates as the funds have been released from most of the federal guidelines. The terms are set by the Loan Committee and do not always have to meet the job creation requirements. The lending limit is generally $100,000, but a higher request will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • The CCEDC administers a Micro-Enterprise Loan Fund for small businesses with capital needs of less than $100,000. Specific qualifying criteria include five or fewer employees at the time of application, and the owner(s) must qualify as low-to-moderate income. Funding for technical assistance is also available to develop solid business skills and improve the chance for success moving forward.
  • Focused on enhancing the appearance of businesses, the Micro Business Loan has a lending limit up to $10,000, a 4-5.5 percent interest rate, a term of up to two years, and must be used to enhance the business facade, signage, or the visual appearance of a business. 

Colorado Lending Source

Crowdfunding Loans

Economic Disaster Loans - SBA

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster declaration is extended to Dec. 31, 2021. The SBA Express Bridge Loan and SBA Debt Relief programs are still providing funds/relief as well.

Energize CO Gap Fund - Applications are currently closed.

The Energize Colorado Gap Fund will provide more than $25M in small business loans and grants to boost small business enterprises that are the economic engines throughout the state. Sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with less than 25 full-time employees can apply for up to a $15,000 grant and a $20,000 loan for a possible combined total of $35,000 in financial assistance. 

Industry Specific Resources




Regulated Marijuana Businesses

Restaurants & Bars



The Office of Economic Development and International Trade has developed the following list for alternative funding sources beyond the common Economic Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program. 

PPP Loans - Applications re-opened January 11, 2021

With the new $284 billion Congressional appropriation for small business relief, the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers.

To promote widespread community access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP program will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.

Eligible lenders of the first two draws of PPP loans are one of four types:

  • Community Financial Development Institution (CDFI)
  • Minority Depository Institution (MDI)
  • Community Development Corporation (CDC)
  • Microlender Intermediary

Review this list of participating Colorado Community Development Financial Institutions.

In the new rounds of PPP, businesses that use an agent to file their PPP applications will be responsible for covering the corresponding expense for their service. In the 2020 PPP allocations, the lender paid that fee; however, businesses are now responsible for the fee and cannot use PPP funds to reimburse themselves. For PPP applicants that have previously received PPP loans, the financial institution which processed last year’s loan is your best place for you to begin new inquiries.

In preparation, this Prepare for the PPP document outlines the key elements needed to prepare for your PPP application.

Finally, to help guide you through the process, the following links provide detailed information for each corresponding element of the federal stimulus:

C-PACE enables owners of eligible commercial and industrial buildings to finance up to 100% of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation eligible improvements. Financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive rates with repayment terms up to 25 years.

On March 16, 2017 Central City was granted permission to be included into the Northwest Colorado Enterprise Zone. Any and all businesses within Central City can now pre-certify for Enterprise Zone Tax Credits. You may find more information on the specific benefits of this enterprise zone here, but some highlights include Vacant Commercial Building Rehabilitation cretics, Job Training credits, New Employee credits, and Contribution Project credits (public-private partnerships). 

Federal and state laws provide tax incentives for historic preservation projects that follow the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.


Colorado provides Historic Preservation Tax Credits for both residential and commercial properties.  All tax credits are now reviewed by History Colorado.

Preservation Tax Credit Fact Sheet

Tax Credit Application Forms


Since January 1, 2020, qualified expenditures on residential properties in Central City will receive at 35% tax credit.  Qualified expenditures must be at least $5,000, and the maximum credit available for each project is $50,000.

Residential Properties Brochure


Qualified expenditures on commercial properties in Central City will receive a 35% tax credit for project expenditures of $2 million or less.

All qualified expenditures above $2 million will receive a 30% tax credit.

Credits must be reserved on a first come-first served basis.  The maximum credit available for each project is $1 million.

Commercial Properties Brochure


Qualified expenditures on the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing properties will receive a 20% tax credit.

Federal Tax Credit Information

Federal Tax Credit Brochure

The Colorado Small Business Development Center Network (CSBDC) is dedicated to helping existing and new businesses grow and prosper in Colorado by providing free and confidential consulting and no- or low-cost training programs. Central City, Gilpin County is located within the Northwest SBDC

Start Up Space Program

Located in the heart of historic Central City, the approximate 700 square foot Central City Start-up Space provides space for entrepreneurs, artists, and start-up businesses to make ideas and concepts come to life. The city-supported space offers a professional environment to foster creativity and help entrepreneurs grow and sustain their business. The program provides a unique workspace for participants to develop their business and become an integral part of the Central City community. This program is offered in support of the City’s economic development goals (See Resolution 19-19).

Participants enter a fifteen-month service agreement for the second-floor space above the Central City Visitor Center located at 103 Eureka St, Central City, CO 80427. Participants will be offered a maximum of a fifteen-month licensing agreement. Four-percent of net revenues generated from the business will go to the City in lieu of rent to cover administrative and maintenance costs, and a $2,000 refundable security deposit will be required. No other monthly costs will be charged.

What will this accomplish?

  • Enhance the retail core of the downtown, increasing the number of merchants and products available to our residents and visitors.
  • Reduce the amount of vacant building space.
  • Generate more pedestrian traffic and shopping opportunities downtown.
  • Offer a low-cost option for local businesses to expand and reach new customers.
  • Provide an opportunity to establish a business in town, introducing you to other business and property owners, and allowing you to discover and expand on the vast possibilities in Central City.

What are the dates of program?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling-basis and will be dependent on the available space. The licensing agreement will run for a maximum of fifteen months and a calendar of availability may be found here.

What businesses will this program attract?

The City would like to attract local establishments that will feature gifts, home goods and decor, apparel and accessories, specialty food, sporting goods, pet supplies, boutique items, art items, locally-made goods, children's books and toys, etc. Businesses should be complementary to other offerings and should be planned with intent to increase pedestrian traffic and drive shoppers to Central City, and importantly, have a plan to develop a permanent establishment within Central City following the licensing agreement.

What are the legal requirements?

Participants will sign a fifteen-month licensing agreement (See Visitor Center License Agreement) that stipulates the terms of use, including returning the space to its original condition at the end of the licensing agreement. Participants shall comply with all insurance requirements, and the appropriate state and local rules and regulations governing the use of property. If participants do not comply with the terms and conditions of the licensing agreement, the privileges of such may be revoked.

Can I alter the space I am using?

Improvements or alterations of any kind must receive prior written approval from the City, and conform to the terms and conditions of the licensing agreement. Licensees are responsible for general upkeep of the space including but not limited to regular cleaning, replacing light bulbs, etc.

When do I access my space?

A licensee may access the space in accordance with the dates and times established in the agreement, and after fulfilling all other prerequisites.

When should I be open for business?

All participants should be ready for business no later than one month after executing the licensing agreement. Preparation of the space for main operations must be done while the Visitor Center is closed.

Required Hours of Operation:

The goal of this program is to drive shoppers to Central City. To maximize pedestrian traffic, weekend shoppers, etc., the business must be open for business and in operation at least 20 hours per week, within the Visitor Center’s hours of operation [Sunday – Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm (off-season) and 10 am – 6 pm (summer season)].

Selection Criteria:

  • Ideal applicants are either currently operating a local home-based business or a business wishing to open a second location. Priority is given to local businesses with an economic generator component within its business plan, including but not limited to sales of goods and/or services where a sale or use tax is collected.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis by the City.
  • Selection is open to the discretion of the City.
  • Evaluation will consider product mix, store concept and design, marketing approach, operations strategy, planned events, experience, references, long-term business plan, and other elements the City may deem appropriate.
  • A wait-list will be created if or when multiple businesses submit interest.

Click here to download the application and the flyer

Water Tap Incentive Program 

What is the program?

The Water Tap Incentive Program (WTIP) was established to encourage new development and growth in Central City by supporting property owner and developer investment. The City Manager or his/her designee can approve rebates for water tap fees, provided the applicant submits an application that shows they meet the eligibility requirements and guidelines (See Resolution 20-16). 

The program is intended to advance Central City’s Economic Development Goals (outlined in the Comprehensive Plan 2017)  including, but not limited to:

  • Encourage retail, entertainment, and tour guide services to relocate into vacant commercial buildings.

  • Encourage development and expansion of commercial services within the community, including food stores, service stations, pharmacies, art studios/makerspaces, professional office spaces, specialty retail shops, entertainment, and restaurants or other food-based services.

  • Increase the number of historic buildings occupied with businesses, residents, and visitors.

  • Create more housing options to establish the critical mass needed for desired economic development.

  • Stimulate activation of underutilized upstair spaces in the Historic Commercial Core and other areas suitable for housing development.

What properties are eligible?

Most properties within the City are eligible for this program including:

  • Bridge Gateway Area - Bridge Gateway Properties include the Belvidere Theater at 139 Nevada Street, Scarlets at 130 Main Street, the Big T Lot as well as 126, 130, 132, and 220 Spring Street;
  • Commercial Development - Commercial development located within the HDG, GGG, LCC, TSL, GPC, and IND zoning districts; and 
  • Residential Infill - Infill within the Central City portion of the National Historic Landmark District Boundary. See Historic District for reference.

How is the amount of the rebate determined?

The base rebate is 30%, but several factors are considered in the review of a water tap rebate application, including the range of investment and integration of the City’s economic development goals. View the below Exhibit A for the full criteria. 

Important program information can be found in the below links:


Please contact the Community Development Department if you have any questions at (303) 582-5251.