An independent book store was the last tenant to be revealed Tuesday as part of the Franklin Hotel restoration in downtown Kent.
Developer Ron Burbick, the man behind the redevelopments, told the Kent Planning Commission the book store will occupy the basement level of "Acorn Corner," or what's more commonly known as the old Kent hotel or the Franklin Hotel, at the corner of DePeyster and Main streets downtown.
"We have 100 percent occupancy in the building as of today," he said. "It’s going to be a lot of work, but we hope to be done mid to late November. That’s 100 percent done and occupied. If we don’t have any glitches, that will happen."
Burbick announced in April of the building, including , which will relocate from its Franklin Avenue building to the first floor and second-floor mezzanine of Acorn Corner.
Burbick told members of the commission his plans for the building, which he last year, and answered their questions as part of a courtesy presentation Tuesday. The planning board took no action on the old hotel redevelopment.
The project qualifies for state and federal , and Burbick said Tuesday that state officials signed off on the tax credits just yesterday afternoon and forwarded them to federal officials for consideration. In a previous interview with with Kent Patch Burbick said for approval.
Minor renovation work, primarily asbestos and lead paint abatement, has already been under way inside the building. But the restoration will become a lot more obvious in the coming weeks as crews start to clean and repair the facade. Such work will require a scaffold along the length of the building's Main Street face.
"The major work on the exterior will be a total cleaning of all the brick," Burbick said. "It’s not going to substantially change the brick coloration, but the big change will be in the grout. We’ve had estimates that we need to replace and repoint anywhere from 1 percent to 100 percent of the grout. My inclination is to make it look right … 90 to 100 percent is probably what we’re going to be doing."
Both Burbick and members of the planning commission expressed concern about parking with regard to the project.
Kent planning engineer Jennifer Barone said there are no requirements for parking in downtown Kent, so even though Acorn Corner will have several apartments and a large restaurant there are no parking requirements for the site.
Burbick said counting employees alone of his Acorn Alley redevelopments he will have 280 people working in that corner of downtown once the projects are all finished.
"Where are we going to park these people," commission member Melissa Long asked. "When I hear Mr. Burbick say 280 employees, I have to think … Where are we going to go?”
Burbick said this summer he will start a valet parking system for customers of Acorn Alley, so they can simply drive up, leave their car and have it parked off site to be driven back by a valet when the customers are done shopping.
"Our biggest problem in Kent is parking and it’s going to continue to be parking," he said.