Login | October 16, 2019

Renovated Kent courthouse open for business

Legal News Reporter

Published: March 14, 2019

After more than a year of renovation, the old Kent courthouse—also formerly the old Kent U.S. Post Office—has opened its doors. The building houses the lawyers of Flynn, Keith & Flynn, and has space available for rental to local lawyers and other professionals.

It also has numerous people still coming into the building to pay traffic tickets because, Flynn said, apparently people still think that the building is still a courthouse.

It is not.

Jon Flynn purchased the building at 250 S. Water St. in July 2017 because “I wanted to preserve the building,” he said. “I didn’t want to see it torn down.” His firm had also reached its capacity for expansion in its old building, and so Flynn set to work creating the space he would need to move.

The reconstruction was time-consuming, said Flynn, who would not discuss the total cost. The building was essentially gutted, with all new windows, semi-dropped ceilings that allow light exposure, new office spaces, and new doors.

Touring the building, it was what was preserved that is the most striking part of the interior. Much of the Post Office entrance was kept, including the Postmaster’s door. Carpeting was torn out to reveal a wooden slat floor that, upon inspection, turned out to be made of two different kinds of maple. The floor was cleaned and now shines through the building. Several pieces of furniture that were made by a Kent-based furniture company are in the lobby. And the firm’s main conference room is a gallery of old photos and other documents of Kent history. The second conference room is filled with modern works of local artists.

Flynn’s office space takes up the most floor space, but there is enough left for an outside three-or-four-person financial outfit or law firm to rent out, he said.

The back porch, said Flynn “was a project.” It had been disintegrating, so it was completely replaced with concrete and metal and serves as the employees’ entrance.

The old building has a massive basement that could serve as a rental storage area at some point. It also has strange doors that lead nowhere and some kind of catwalk so the postmaster could spy on the postal workers.

After preserving this historic 1935 building, Flynn created deed restrictions that would not allow it to be torn down after he is gone. So at least part of historic Kent will not go the way of the rest of downtown, he said.