Tuesday, September 09, 2008

DDA Approves Three Downtown Façade Grants

The Clayton Downtown Development Association has approved three Downtown Façade Improvement Grant applications. The projects are expected to be completed within the next few months. The Downtown Façade Improvement Grant program reimburses an approved project 50% of the eligible costs up to $5000. The grant is available through the Town of Clayton for commercial buildings in downtown Clayton. Jeme Avent, Vice Chair of the DDA Design Committee said “These are highly visible projects and will make a big difference in the appearance of downtown Clayton.”

The first application was for 104 N Fayetteville Street, a former residence at the corner of Fayetteville and Main Street which will become the offices for HTR Commercial Real Estate. The house, built in about 1895, is a contributing building in the proposed historic district, and the new owners are taking care to keep the architectural integrity of the building intact as they make improvements. The façade improvements include the cleaning and painting of the exterior of the building; stripping, sanding, and glazing the original wood windows and glass; and upper front porch including repairs, including the replacement of wooden porch railings and spindles with matching materials and style. The main exterior of the building will be painted a light yellow with Navajo White trim. Window sashes will be painted a light green. The upper and lower porch ceilings will be painted Seafoam. The costs of the improvements exceed the grant’s matching cap of $5,000.

The second application was for 104 W Main Street, a commercial building between 104 N Fayetteville Street and North Carolina Paper Company. The east side of the block building will be painted a light brown (Camelback) with trim in Navajo White. The existing doors toward the rear of the building will be Privilege Green and the gutters, downspouts and brackets will be a bronze color. Property owners will reopen the boarded windows on the side of the building and the front awning will be removed to open the front. A projecting sign with exterior lighting will be installed above the existing overhang and address letters will be installed on the front brick portion of the east side of the building. The existing brickwork will be cleaned. Some minor landscaping will also occur in the front area of the building. The costs of these improvements also exceed the grant’s matching cap of $5,000. The owners hope to attract a retail use in this building when it becomes available in November.

The third application was for 236 E Main Street, Main Street Jewelers. This building is also a contributing structure in the proposed historic district. The grant application is for a replacement awning that will be black with gold trim and lettering. The awning will be a standard design, which has a more shallow design than the existing awning, providing a more traditional look and a more open visual of the storefront. The owners recently painted the building but not as part of the façade grant application. The grant will be for approximately $1,000.

Downtown business and property owners interested in making improvements to their buildings are urged to meet with Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen as a first step to making those improvements. Naegelen said, “There are design services and resources available to assist property and business owners in making effective and appropriate improvements to their buildings.” In some cases, he added, there may be financial resources available.

In addition to the Downtown Façade Improvement Grant program assisting the above projects, the Town of Clayton also offers a shared-cost program, the Downtown Improvements Project which helps property owners remove pole-supported sidewalk canopies in front of their building. The removal of these canopies will make the storefronts under them more visible and can improve business sales. Another benefit is an increase in usable sidewalk space.

A third incentive is the Clayton Downtown Redevelopment Incentive Grant which provides an incentive for new downtown construction on existing vacant land. The grant is based on the value of the property prior to and after development.

For more information on available resources for downtown building improvements, appearance and maintenance contact Mr. Naegelen at (919) 553-1545 or bnaegelen@townofclaytonnc.org.

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