City Council takes steps to designate old Kent hotel as historical landmark

Submitted photo.

Submitted photo.

Tyler Goddard

Over the past month, city council has been in discussion about designating the old Kent hotel as a historical landmark.

City manager Dave Ruller said the application procedure for becoming eligible for federal and state historic tax credits can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

However, the owner of the hotel, Ron Burbick, said he hopes to begin renovation sometime near the beginning of April, but he wouldn’t be eligible for the tax credits in time.

“Depending on how much money he spends, it could be a $300,000 to $500,000 savings in tax credits, which is pretty significant,” Ruller said.

Ruller said council will vote to authorize the ordinance to become a certified local government.

“When you become a certified local government, you have the ability to designate areas as historically important,” he said. “And that can be a much quicker process, like 30 to 90 days.”

Ruller said if the ordinance goes through, then there is a chance that they can get the historical designation completed and still be eligible for the tax credits so renovation can begin on time in the spring.

Community development director Bridget Susel said the local landmark property designation is being done simultaneously with the certified local government status ordinance.

She said once the historic preservation ordinance passes, it will allow a preservation committee to be created, and the ultimate decision on historic designation will be presented before council March 21.

Ruller stressed that Burbick intends to begin renovation on schedule no matter what the outcome of the historic designation.

“He has the financing to make this happen,” Ruller said. “He would just like to keep the money so he can pile it back into the building than having to pay the taxes on it.”

Ward five representative Heidi Shaffer said if the hotel becomes historically certified, it will bring many benefits to the downtown area.

“We will be a little closer to getting the hotel into a usable condition so that it doesn’t detract from the rest of downtown,” she said. “I firmly believe that it will increase property values and civic pride once it is renovated and brought back to its former glory.”

vBurbick, who also owns Acorn Alley, said he simply wanted to buy and restore the hotel to finish off the block.

“It’s the right thing to do to bring this building and the rest of downtown Kent back to life,” Shaffer said.

Tyler Goddard at [email protected].