Building Services
Economic Development

Downtown Facade Program



The City of Kent Downtown Facades Program (KDFP) is designed to encourage the renovation and rehabilitation of commercial structures within the Central Business District (CBD). Through both grants and loans funded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the City will assist property owners in undertaking capital improvements designed to revitalize the City’s CBD, promote additional pride of ownership, and create an environment conducive to business growth and expansion. This two-tiered approach is designed to address both the immediate needs of the City’s business and property owners, as well as establishing a strategic, long-term approach to preserving and enhancing the City’s architectural presence.

Listed below are the program guidelines for the KDFP Preliminary Assistance phase.


Eligible Improvements:

Exterior façade improvements on both the front and rear of the buildings. Rear façade improvements must incorporate a secondary, rear entrance to the building that is open to customer traffic



Window and door improvements and replacement

Exterior and signage lighting

Façade painting

Roof and building code related repairs

Other aesthetic and functional improvements

Eligibility Requirements: Owners of existing buildings in the City’s Central Business District as defined by City Council in 2003 are eligible to apply for funding through the KDFP. Tenants are also eligible to apply for KDFP assistance with the written permission of the property owner.

Architectural Review Requirements: All projects must be reviewed and approved by the Kent Architectural Review Board to take advantage of this program. The design criteria to be utilized by the Architectural Review Board in evaluating applications for assistance will be established by the Board.

Incentive Package: The KDFP consists of three components:

Architectural Design Grant - In an effort to promote architectural design that remains sensitive to the historic nature of the buildings to be renovated, and true to its historic surroundings in the CBD, a grant of up to $2,500 will be applied to accomplish those objectives.

Improvements Grant – 25% of the total eligible costs, up to $10,000, will be reimbursed to applicants in the form of a direct grant.

Improvements Loan – 25% of the total eligible costs, up to $10,000, will be loaned to applicants according to the following terms:

  • The maximum term of the loan is five years
  • The applicable initial interest rate is ½ of the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal at the time the loan is closed.
  • The loan will be evidenced by a Promissory Note, and will be secured by a Mortgage Deed on said property.
  • Promissory Notes and Mortgage Deeds shall be signed individually and as the authorized business representative.
  • The loan and grant amounts will be equal, and will be adjusted proportionally according to the estimated total project cost. At no time will the grant amount exceed that of the loan amount.
  • The balance of any outstanding loan must be repaid within five years. In the event that the property ownership transfers prior to the full repayment of the loan, the remaining balance of the loan will become due and payable before title transfer will be permitted.
  • The City will subordinate its mortgage, second only in lien position to that of a participating private lending institution.
  • The Applicant must demonstrate a minimum equity participation of at least 10% of the total project cost.
  • The applicant must agree to permit a credit report history check, and the Community Development Director has the final say in approving the requested loan based upon the Applicant’s credit report/history check.
  • All administrative fees must be borne by the applicant, including filing, title insurance, document preparation, and all other related fees.
  • Said monies from the City will only be paid as a reimbursement for expenses paid by the applicant.
  • Final reimbursement will be contingent upon receipt of a lien waiver from all contractors participating on the project.
  • Should an initial Promissory Note, executed by the Applicant prior to receiving City monies, be in an amount higher than actually received by the Applicant, said Note and Mortgage Deed shall be adjusted.


    OBJECTIVE: Restore to the extent possible, the historic facades of downtown buildings. Work shall be done in ways that are compatible with the original design of the structure.


    Historic Documentation: Owner/Applicant shall provide, to the extent possible, historic documentation in the form of photographs and drawings, indicating original conditions of the structure. If such documents are not available, such information from buildings of the same period in history shall be used as a guide.

    Design Objective: Replicate Historic Façade to extent feasible. If not feasible, create design in keeping with proportion, rhythm, geometry, scale, materials and colors of the original facade. Synthetic materials can be used in replace of traditional materials in keeping with the above.

    Façade materials shall be restored to the extent possible. Masonry should be re-pointed, and cleaned rather than repainted. If painting is necessary, colors should be chosen that approximate the original color of the masonry.

    Upper Story Windows shall be restored if they exist, or if they are to be replaced, done so using windows that match in style and detail. True divided lines shall be used to the extent possible.

    Storefronts, Including Bulkheads (Area below picture windows,) and transoms (Windows or other panels above picture windows) shall be restored to the extent possible. Cast iron posts shall be uncovered if still in place. Storefront recessed entries shall be retained or restored if possible. Picture/Display windows shall retain the original character in size. Sliding or folding doors or windows that replicate the scale of original windows may be substituted if ventilation is desired. Transom and bulkhead areas may also be made into operable windows.

    Exterior Millwork Building owners are encouraged to replicate historic exterior millwork in keeping with the original design of the building. Synthetic materials may be used in lieu of lumber.

    Signs shall be incorporated in a fashion sensitive to the proportions and design of the façade. Hanging signs no taller than the dimension of the transom and panel signs incorporated in an area above the transom are acceptable solutions subject to approval by the zoning inspector. Signs shall not be internally illuminated, except if they are glass signs. . Signs may also be on awning below. Tasteful, pedestrian scale signs are encouraged on the windows and door glass.

    Awnings shall be incorporated where appropriate and be installed within or above the transom, depending upon the building design. Lettering may be installed on the awnings per code, but shall not be backlit.

    Lighting Shall be incorporated to light signs and the walking surfaces at the entry and front of the building. Period goosenecks are preferred to illuminate signs, but modern low voltage lights that are discretely designed may be appropriate. Wall and Soffit lighting, appropriate to the period of the building, is acceptable, as are small-scale recessed light fixtures.


    In the space provided below, please respond to each of the following components. You may enter the attached forms on your computer to facilitate the preparation of the proposal; however, the existing page breaks, titles and statement of questions must be maintained, and all responses must be limited to the original space provided (one page per component). Supporting documentation may be submitted with the proposal; however, attachments may not serve as a substitute for one or more of the proposal requirements.