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Development Incentives

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There are several incentives available to develop properties and businesses within the City of Ames.

Industrial Property Tax Exemption - The Ames City Council has approved an ordinance for a partial exemption from property tax of the actual value added to real estate by the new construction of industrial real estate, research facilities, warehouses, owner-operated cattle facilities, and distribution centers. 

The amount of actual value added that is eligible to be exempt from taxation is as follows: 

Year Value Added
Eligible to be Exempt from Taxation
Year 1  75%
Year 2  60%
Year 3  45%
Year 4  30%
Year 5  15%


Applications are filed with the Ames City Assessor and must be submitted by February 1 after the year of construction.  Companies may file for prior approval. 

Community Investment Fund - The City of Ames and the Ames Economic Development Commission can provide up to $50,000 in financial assistance to provide a local match for State financial assistance programs and to fill financing gaps in economic development projects. The assistance is typically in the form of a no-interest or low interest loan, but it can take the form of a forgivable loan for projects with high paying jobs and significant capital investment. For information on this assistance, contact the Ames Economic Development Commission

Urban Revitalization Tax Abatement - For an area designated an “Urban Revitalization Area,” improvements made to properties that improve the assessed value of the property by 5% or more may qualify for Urban Revitalization Tax Abatement. The application process for this program is administered by the Department of Planning and Housing. The application must be received and construction begun prior to February 1 of the assessment year for which the exemption is first claimed, but not later than the year in which all improvements included in the project are first assessed. Applications are approved by the City Council at the first meeting in February. If approved, the City Assessor evaluates the application before and after the improvement for the effect on property value. Applicants choose one of three potential abatement schedules in which the amount of the partial exemption is equal to a percent of the Actual Value-added by the improvements, determined as follows:

  3-year schedule   5-year schedule 10-year schedule 
 Year 1  100%   100% 80% 
 Year 2  100%  80%  70%
 Year 3  100%  60%  60%
 Year 4    40%  50%
 Year 5
 20%  40%
 Year 6
 Year 7      30%
 Year 8      30%
 Year 9      20%
 Year 10      20%

City of Ames Revolving Loan Fund 
- The City of Ames Revolving Loan Fund was developed to provide for a local match for various state financial assistance programs. The purpose of the loan is to assist area businesses in expansions and relocation. The program was designed for gap financing with city loan representing no more than 15% of total financing. The emphasis is on the projects that expand the tax base and create quality jobs. Loans are typically made for five years at 1/2 of prime. The maximum amount of any one loan is $50,000. Generally, award amounts are between $1,000-$2,000 per job created. Applications can be made at any time. Loan applications are reviewed by a revolving loan fund committee and are subject to Ames City Council approval. 

Downtown Facade Assistance  - Improving buildings in Downtown Ames with a unified design consistent with its authentic, historical character will enhance its visual appeal, make a more memorable impression, increase visits and promote tourism. The City of Ames encourages such facade improvements with matching grants of up to $15,000 that follow the Downtown Design Guidelines.

Larger projects that include façade improvements consistent with these guidelines are also eligible for abatement of property taxes on any increase in property value greater than 5%. This downtown facade assistance preserves the character and increases the economic vitality of Downtown Ames. More information is available from the Planning Division.  

Campustown Facade Assistance - The purpose of the Campustown Facade Improvement Program is to improve the Campustown commercial district by providing financial incentives to enhance the appearance and use of existing buildings with commercial uses. The program design is to encourage and maintain the eclectic culture and ‘uniqueness’ of Campustown, to increase safety, security, and investments by property and business owners and to add to the vitality of Campustown.

The Campustown Facade Improvement Program seeks to encourage the creation of a place that is walkable, transparent, eclectic, sustainable, social, and historic. Under this program, the City provides up to $15,000 in grant funds to be matched dollar for dollar.

Get more information and application material for the Campustown Facade Assistance program.