Center City Initiative

2015 Residential and Commercial Façade Program

The Center City Initiative is now accepting applications for Façade Grants for the 2015 construction season. Grants are available for both residential and commercial properties.

The Facade Program is aimed at improving the external appearance of properties in Center City, within the bounds of Tilghman St (N)., Union/MLK (S), Jordan Creek (E) and N. 12th St (W). Maximum grant amounts are $10,000, however, not all applications are guaranteed to receive the maximum amount. Proposed façade grant proposals
should preserve the original building design and be compatible with the architectural character of the surrounding neighborhood. Eligible improvements include: removal of brickote, brick and stone masonry repair, exterior woodwork, doors and windows, painting, awnings, exterior lighting and repair to Mansard and peaked roofs. Façade grants do not include roof replacement, interior work or landscaping.

Grants of up to $10,000 (no cash match required) are available for income qualified home owners whose total household income is at or less than 80% of the prevailing area median income. Also eligible are occupied residential buildings of no more than four units, whose owner is at or below the 80% of the area median income. If the applicant’s total household income exceeds 80% of the area median income, the applicant is responsible for 50% of the project. A 50% match is also required if the property has five or more units.

Applications are available at and will be submitted to: CADCA, attn: Peter Lewnes. CADCA is currently located at: 443 N. 7th St., Allentown, PA 18101, however, they are in the process of moving to: 523-525 N. 7th St., Allentown, PA 18101. If approval is granted by the Committee and the work is approved by the City the applicant will pay a $300.00 processing fee which is non-fundable.

Facade improvements on buildings located in designated historic districts shall be subject to design standards and review administered by the HARB. In designated historic districts, a Certificate of Appropriateness from the city must be received before the commencement of any exterior work can take place.

Improvements on properties not located within Old Allentown or Old Fairgrounds but located within an area determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places will conform to The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and reviewed by the Program Manager for compliance.

The property may not have any outstanding municipal debt, including but not limited to city taxes, utilities, or other municipal liens.


Old Allentown Façade Program

The Façade Restoration Program provides single-family homeowners with grants of up to $5,000 to return the front exterior of their properties to their original historic charm. Since the program's inception in 1995, over 120 façades have been returned to their near-original appearance. This can best be seen in the 300 and 400 blocks of North 8th Street. Additional facade restorations can be seen elsewhere throughout the District.

The grant is awarded in the form of a lien placed on the property. Each year the homeowner stays in the property, twenty per cent of the loan amount is forgiven, so that after five years no money needs to be paid back. Old Allentown works with the homeowner to get estimates for the work and to oversee the work as it progresses. Old Allentown will also assist the homeowner in planning the restoration project and will accompany the homeowner to the Historical and Architectural Review Board to gain the required approval of the proposed work.

Owner-occupied single-family homes are eligible for OAPA's façade grant program. The grants, which range up to $5000, are for the purpose of restoring a home's façade to the appearance appropriate to the era of its construction. The grants typically fund such projects as the removal of aluminum siding or brickcote, the installation of appropriate shutters and doors, the replacement of concrete porches with brick or wooden stoops. Façade grants do not fund the maintenance or upgrading of an already restored façade. For example, such things as painting, brick repointing, or roof replacement on a facade already restored to its appropriate period appearance are not included in the program. Similarly, the upgrading of existing appropriate façade features such as doors and replacement windows will not be funded with façade grants. 

In years when the applications for façade grants exceed the available funds, the façade committee may use its discretion to award grants to those projects that it deems will have the greatest impact on historic preservation in Old Allentown.

To see whether your property might qualify for a Façade Restoration Grant or to request a grant application, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To download a 2014 OAPA Façade Grant Application, click here. 
To download a Income Certification Worksheet, click here.

119 North 12th Street - Before & After

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