New business resources, retail/commercial space lease

The Allure of Historic Kent:  Opening Your Business Here

Nestled in the heart of Washington State, Kent boasts a rich history that dates back to its founding in the late 19th century. While many might consider historic districts primarily for tourists, they hold tremendous untapped potential for entrepreneurs and businesses.  We love Kent and welcome you to explore why opening a business in Historic Kent is an exceptionally good idea, and the benefits it offers to both new and established enterprises.

1. Ambiance:

Historic Kent exudes a unique charm, offering an authentic ambiance that modern developments often lack. The nostalgic atmosphere can provide an unforgettable backdrop for your business, making it stand out and leave a lasting impression on customers.

2. Strong Community Ties:

Our historic district is a close-knit community with a small-town feel.  By opening your business in Historic Kent, you’ll have the opportunity to build strong, long-lasting relationships with local customers who appreciate and support their historic neighborhood.   And word-of-mouth marketing can be especially potent in communities like ours.

3. Tourist Attractions:

Historic Kent often attracts tourists, sports/concerts at ShoWare and history enthusiasts who are eager to explore its rich past. This influx of visitors can present an excellent opportunity for your business to tap into the tourism market, whether you run a restaurant, boutique or a services.

4. Regulatory Support:

Our Historic district receives special attention and support from our local government.  Whether you’re just starting, relocating or expanding you’ve landed in the right place.   Small businesses are the fabric of our community, they create jobs, boost the economy and bring vitality to the historic district.   Opening a business in a historic district can provide access to these resources and make your entrepreneurial journey more cost-effective.

We want to help you discover all that downtown Kent has to offer and help your business succeed.  The City of Kent offers an impressive array of business support through its resource links and small business support service organizations.  Best of all it’s free!  See link below.

5. Revitalization Opportunities:

Investing in a historic area can contribute to its revitalization, positively impacting property values, local pride, and overall community growth. As your business thrives, it can inspire others to join the revitalization efforts.

6. Foot Traffic and Accessibility:

Downtown Kent offers walkable streets and easy access to public transportation. This can lead to greater visibility for your business, which can be especially advantageous for retail stores, restaurants, and cafes.  We are a short walk to ShoWare Center and Kent Station.

8. Legacy and Longevity:

By becoming a part of the historical fabric of Kent, your business has the potential to leave a lasting legacy. Your brand can become synonymous with the area’s history and traditions, and you can become a respected figure in the community.

Our goal is to connect you with opportunities so you can achieve your goals.

Historic Kent presents a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and investors. From its unique ambiance to the support from the local community and government, opening a business in this historic district is a decision that can yield long-term benefits and make a positive impact. Whether you’re a startup looking for a unique niche or an established business seeking a fresh, authentic market, Historic Kent is a compelling destination for your entrepreneurial dreams.   Embrace the history, embrace the future!

State B&O Tax Credit Program – 75% tax credit


The Main Street tax credit incentive program provides a Business & Occupation (B&O) or Public Utility tax (PUT) credit for contributions given to the Kent Downtown Partnership. Once your business registers at Dept. of Revenue, you are eligible for a tax credit worth 75% of the contribution. Designated Washington Main Street Communities, such as Kent Downtown Partnership, are eligible to receive contributions through this state tax credit program.

Further, the KDP is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which means you may also be eligible for a federal income tax deduction as a charitable contribution (confirm with your CPA). The Main Street Tax Credit Program is established in RCW 82.73;

How do you get the credit?

  • Businesses must be registered to file their state excise tax electronically.
  • A donation request must be submitted online, but don’t worry – it’s easy and we’ve got step-by-step instructions

Business must make the donation directly to KDP between January – November 1 of the year registered. Payment options available! The tax credit becomes available the following January and must be used the same year (the tax credit can’t be carried forward).

Placemaking Micro-Grant

Reimagine. Rejuvenate. Revitalize

The KDP Micro-Grant program is to provide opportunities for businesses to activate their spaces in a meaningful way that will positively affect the community.

Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. To strengthen the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process that can shape our public realm to maximize shared value.

More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.

The program provides micro-grants to qualifying downtown businesses and property owners. Grants are defined in two categories.

  • Physical space improvement includes façade refreshing and can include projects like cleaning awnings, installing/refreshing flower boxes, lighting, painting, and signage, repairing windows or doors, art installations.
  • Event space activation envisioned for businesses to host events that invite people into your space.  This could include ladies’ nights, musical performances, DJs, temporary art installations, or other creative experiences within your space, sidewalk or alleyway that are free to the public and promote downtown.

Applications will be vetted by the KDP Design and Promotions committees with staff assistance, utilizing the following criteria to evaluate each application.

Note:  preference will be given to applications where activation meets more than one criterion.

  • Cultural Community Support – How well does the activation provide a rich cultural experience? Does this project add to the attractiveness of the downtown?
  • Impact on Activation Site – How impactful is the activation to the applicant and nearby businesses? Does this project enhance the site?
  • Diversity of Activation – How well does the activation incorporate diversity and inclusion in activation and audience? Does this project attract more people into our downtown?
  • Investment Ratio– Does the applicant also plan to invest in the activation?


Eligible businesses will receive reimbursement up to $500.   Funds will be awarded when documentation of project is complete or 30 days post event date. Businesses can apply once per seasonal opportunity.


To be eligible to receive a micro-grant, applicants must agree to the following:

  1. Operate a street-level business or own a property within the historic Downtown Kent core (generally located between Central and 4th Ave, Willis and Smith)
  2. Produce space activation(s) within the specified timeline for the grant cycle.
  3. Submit either a project schematic or an in-depth description of the project/event concept. For physical space applications, please also include 1-2 photos of the project before improvement.
  4. During the activation or post improvement: capture 3-5 photos and tag the KDP on social media using Instagram (@kentdowntownpartnership) and Facebook (@KentDowntownPartnershis)– OR – Businesses must email 1-3 high-quality photos to and provide the Rights to Use for KDP marketing efforts.


  • All are welcome to apply. The committee will give preference to applicants not previously awarded micro-grant(s).
  • Paid employee time is not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Projects must benefit the downtown.


    • February 1:           Applications Open
    • March 1-July 31:  Applications Due
    • Sept 2-6:                Selections made. applicants notified.
    • Sept 15- Jan 15:    Project Implementation

For more information, please contact Executive Director or 253-813-6976

  • *Please refer to the City of Kent Community Planning and Development department for detailed information about signage within the downtown.
  • Additional permits or licenses may be necessary.  Please contact City of Kent Planning Dept to inquire:  Phone: 253-856-5454

Space for Kidz


SpaceforKidz represents a long-term commitment by the City of Kent and the Kent Downtown Partnership—in collaboration with Washington State’s space industry—to educate and inspire children to pursuit STEM education through the use of digital technology and experiential play at a space-themed park.

We’ve launched Augmented Reality (AR) digital apps to interact with a space-themed recreational park located in downtown Kent. Use of “cool” technology is something kids are not only used to, but they are also intuitively drawn to it! By using smartphones in combination with AR, Space for Kidz will be the first recreational park in the nation to use physical space to interact with the digital world to educate and inspire kids.

This park is the first-of-its-kind to feature Augmented Reality—immersing kids in an even more engaging, interactive and personal experience! Imagine the inspiration from being able to “launch a rocket from Mission Control” or “traversing the Moon on the Lunar Rover.” These and other exciting experiences can be found using the camera of a mobile phone and projecting images onto the screen of the viewer. Markers around the park will activate new and always-changing experiences to keep kids coming back to discover more.

Your financial support will help us continue to develop this educational and entertaining platform.  Launch your tax-deductible gift today at



The KDP has adopted Meeker Street and committed to keep it litter-free. The mission of the Adopt-a-Street program is to promote civic responsibility and community pride as well as to enhance Kent’s quality of life through clean streets and beautiful neighborhoods. Join the many volunteers who are dedicate to clean up events 4 times/year.

Kent Grand Organ


Kent Grand organ is an independent, non-profit organization that owns and operates the existing and future pipe organ at Kent Lutheran Church in downtown Kent, Washington.  Our goal is to complete installation of some 3300 pipes from the historic 1878 Hutchings/Plaisted pipe organ with a new console, expanded electronic capability including trumpets and chimes by 2021. Programming will include student and adult education, professional organists concerts and Organ Plus concerts featuring string instruments, acoustic instruments, dance, and film.

The Kent Downtown Partnership and Friends of the Kent Grand Organ invite you to join us on an exciting musical journey: the long-awaited building and installation of the historic Hutchings Plaisted pipe organ at Kent Lutheran Church. Contained in this video is a brief history, detailed description for renovating this magnificent pipe organ. It is our hope that you will be inspired by this wonderful project that will provide years of musical enjoyment for our community in South King County. We hope that you will be moved to contribute to the restoration of this unique musical instrument.