As part of Mayor Menino’s Main Streets program, the city of Boston has an RFP out for architects to provide design and support services to help the city revitalize some neighborhood storefronts. The contract is for $580,000 (over two years), so it sounds like the city is looking for pros to provide advice to retail store owners or neighborhood organizations looking to improve less-than-perfect storefronts.
Lousy storefronts actually do detract from neighborhoods. I can think of quite a few cringe-worth examples in several Boston neighborhoods. The hard part is getting business owners to make the effort, however. Most local eyesores are eyesores for a reason — usually the business owner is a jerk.
Good luck architects!