Downtown Redevelopment - Façade Improvement Grant Program

Imagine Downtown Auburn

Downtown Facade Improvement Grant Program


The City of Auburn has historic and unique buildings, as well as many wonderful family-owned and compelling businesses. The Downtown Facade Improvement Grant Program seeks to preserve and enhance the charm of our Downtown commercial area through strategic physical improvements to buildings.

The City is awarding facade improvement grants to facilitate exterior building (facade) improvements for businesses within the designated Business Improvement Area (BIA) (PDF). Since 2015, the City Council approved $100,000 per year to be awarded to owners of buildings and/or businesses in downtown Auburn. Last year, we awarded nearly $100,000 to 10 deserving applicants.

The following time lapse videos show two of the projects funded by the façade improvement program.  The first video is footage of a property located at the corner of East Main and A Street SE. The second is the preliminary deconstruction that has taken place at 413 E Main St near the site of Geaux Brewing. We hope you enjoy watching this program at work as much as we do!


Category I - Projects at or under $5,000 (inclusive of design, material, and labor) do not require any matching funds or in-kind contributions.

Category II - Graduated matching: These projects will work under a graduated scale; as the budget increases, the matching contribution responsibility gently shifts toward the business or property owner. The match can be in the form of a loan, cash, or in-kind contribution. Please note, the maximum grant awarded by the City is up to $31,000.

Please use the grant request calculator to see projected cost to City and Applicant based on your budget.

Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Must be a:

  • Commercial property owners or Business lessee with written authorization of the property owner
  • Project must meet code requirements, follow all local and state laws, and follow all current design standards
  • Site must be within the Business Improvement Area and dues must be current
  • No restrictions to site and no current code violations

Cannot be a:

  • Business with more than 25 full time employees
  • Building that is primarily residential
  • Building in excess of 25,000 square feet of ground floor area
  • Government office and agency (non-governmental tenants are eligible)
  • Newly constructed building Application Submission and Assistance

Applications may be submitted any time. Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis, so keep this in mind as you prepare your submissions. Later in the year, funding may no longer be available.

To apply please download, fill out and return the application below. Further questions? Contact City of Auburn Planning Services via email or 253-931-3092. Please put the nature of your inquiry in the subject line, and include the parcel number or address of the site (if applicable) and your contact information in the email.

Application Packet (includes Guidelines and Checklist) (PDF)
Program Guidelines (PDF)
Application (PDF)
Application Checklist (PDF)
Grant Request Calculator

Main Street Urban Design

The City and our consultants, MIG SvR, are currently in the final design phase. The final design will include elements of both the 'Rail Rooms' and 'Rivers and Eddies' concepts seen below.

Option 1 is called Rail Rooms. The concept alludes to Auburn's history and present as a rail town. The design incorporates rail ties into seating and sidewalk details. Additionally, the design is linear and relies on straight edges throughout.

Option 1


Option 2 is called Rivers and Eddies. This concept focuses on the river that used to run through downtown Auburn and creates moments that recall river rock and the motion of a pebble hitting the surface of water. This option is much more organic in shape than Option 1.

Option 2