City agrees to matching grant for investors to continue renovations and remodel of downtown buildings
Thanks to private investment and a grant awarded last week by the Woodburn Urban Renewal Agency (URA), an exterior makeover will soon be coming to two downtown properties that desperately need it.
Located in the historic downtown district at 405 and 445 N. First St., adjacent to the now-defunct Pix Theater, the buildings have sat empty and in disrepair for years.
However, when the buildings were purchased by Chay Properties LLC in 2013, the company applied for and obtained matching grants from the URA in the amount of approximately $24,000 for roof replacement and interior ceiling insulation.
The grant program rules cap exterior grants at $10,000 per property and interior grants at $5,000, but successful applicants are permitted to apply for further funding in subsequent years.
This year, Chay Properties applied for funding to take the next step in its renovation of the two sites, which would include a full exterior makeover.
The proposed design features a muted color palette intended to complement the surrounding historic properties. It also includes the replacement of the storefront windows and frames and repair of the store awnings.
Inside, the applicants hope to finish the work on the ceilings.
The projects total price tag is $22,000 for each building, according to a staff report from the city, with the owners being responsible for at least 50 percent of the cost (one of the grants prerequisites).
The project was presented to the URA just before the start of the City Councils July 28 meeting.
Jim Hendryx, economic and development services director, told the agency that the consideration of this kind of improvement grant is where we wanted to be from the start.
But, we found ourselves having to do a lot of deferred maintenance on buildings downtown, he said, referring to the bulk of grants that have been funded since the program was launched in February 2011. Now, were seeing applicants starting to do the finishing touches on their buildings.
Hendryx said the Chays have taken full advantage of the urban renewal programs offered by the city, including assistance for the proposed design of the remodel.
He said the design and development services program, as it is known, allows applicants in the urban renewal zone to receive up to $3,000 worth of design services for a nominal fee. The services can include interior and exterior design, and is done by consultants already on contract with the city.
The URA ultimately voted unanimously to approve the grant.
Reached last week, J.K. Chay, a managing member of Chay Properties, said the work will begin in the very near future and is planned to be completed this summer.
We want to get it done this summer, he said. Thats definitely the goal.
He also said his group has been in contact with several possible users for the properties, but nothing has been set in stone.
Were still working on something with a major company, he said. But its not final. I?dont want to say something that would be premature.