Help for Community Development / Preservation Projects
compiled by NH CDFA and the NH Preservation Alliance
Several incentives are available to encourage investment in privately-held historic properties. Many successful rehabilitation projects include a partnership between a private, for-profit developer and a municipal or non-profit agency that has access to grant funding or other resources. Examine the specific goals and requirements of these programs:
Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit
Federal law provides a federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the cost of rehabilitating a historic building for commercial use. To qualify for the credit, the property must be a certified historic structure—that is, on the National Register of Historic Places or contributing to a registered historic district. (Non-historic buildings built before 1936 qualify for a 10% tax credit.) A substantial rehabilitation is necessary, and the work must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. Applications for the credit are available through your state historic preservation office, and the final decisions are made by the National Park Service. For more information, take a look at our take a look at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Rehabilitation Tax Credit Guide, prepared by their for-profit subsidiary, NTCIC. In addition, the National Park Service's website offers helpful information on this tax credit. (At present, individuals rehabilitating a historic property for their primary residence do not qualify for this tax credit.)
Downtown Tax Incentive, RSA 79 E
Specific to the state of New Hampshire. Once this law is adopted by a municipality’s legislative body, a property owner who wants to substantially rehabilitate a downtown or village center building may apply to the local governing body for a period of temporary tax relief. The law is structured to encourage both rehabilitation of downtown structures and housing in the downtown area. The temporary tax relief consists of a finite period during which the property tax on the structure will not increase as a result of its substantial rehabilitation. In exchange for the relief, the property owner grants a covenant ensuring the continuation of the public benefit during the period of the tax relief. Once the tax relief period expires, the structure is taxed at its full market value, taking the rehabilitation into account.
Berlin, Concord, Hooksett, Lisbon, Manchester and Pittsfield are among those towns using this program.
National Trust Community Investment Corporation
The National Trust Community Investment Corporation, the for-profit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, makes equity investments in the rehabilitation of historic properties eligible for the 20 percent federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, and where available, state historic tax credits and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). NTCIC invests in projects that have at least $6.0 million in total development costs and that generate at least $1.5 million in historic tax credit equity. Smaller deals will be referred to the Small Deal Fund for equity investment consideration. Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations and public-sector developers may be eligible for an NTCIC equity investment by creating a limited liability partnership. NTCIC has a special interest in those projects with a high community benefit.
NTCIC pays a referral fee to National Trust Advisors, Regional Offices, Statewide and Local Partners (like the NH Preservation Alliance) and Main Street programs who refer deals that ultimately result in an equity investment by NTCIC.
Grants and loans
The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) provides financial and technical assistance to community development corporations, worker cooperatives, and certain municipal entities. The Authority is unable to assist for-profit businesses directly, but can work through a for-profits nonprofit partner. CDFA funds major community development projects primarily with the Community Development Investment (Tax Credit) Program. It has proven to be a major source of support for affordable housing and economic development.
The Community Development Block Grant program, administered by the Community Development Finance Authority, provides federal funds to communities for housing, economic development, and public facilities for low- and moderate-income people. Feasibility Grants are available for project planning (including feasibility studies, surveys, and professional architectural and engineering services). Implementation grants provide substantial funding for construction and rehabilitation work. For more information, contact Patrick Herlihy, Community Development Block Grants, 14 Dixon Avenue, Suite 102, Concord, NH 03301 (603) 226-2170.
The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority is the state's housing advocacy agency, and administers a variety of funding sources, including federal and state loans and grants to support housing programs and projects.
Moose Plate Grants: The Conservation License Plate Program provides funds to supplement existing efforts to preserve New Hampshire resources, from scenic lands and wildlife to historic sites. Grants of up to $10,000 are made available to state and county agencies, towns and cities and non-profit organizations that operate or manage publicly owned and accessible historic properties and historic or archaeological artifacts. The NH Division of Historical Resources, (603) 271-3483, manages this grant program.
NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP): provides matching grants to public entities (other than state agencies) and non-profit organizations, to help communities acquire and preserve natural, cultural and historical resources.
Public Service of New Hampshire Community Development grants available in the PSNH service territory on a rolling basis throughout the year for historic preservation and more. Public Service of New Hampshire, 780 North Commercial St. Manchester, NH 03101 www.prospernh.com (select "PSNH advantage").
The New Hampshire Coastal Program offers matching grants for technical assistance, planning/management, and construction/acquisition. New Hampshire's 17 coastal cities and towns, the Rockingham and Strafford Regional Planning Commissions, state agencies, and non-profit organizations are all eligible for funding. Recipient's portion of the matching funds can be as non-Federal cash or in-kind services. For more information, contact the Coastal Program Office, 152 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603)431-9366 or call the Office of State Planning in Concord (603)271-2155.
New Hampshire's Transportation Enhancement Act: provides funds and selects projects that preserve the historic culture or enhance the operation of the transportation system. Project categories include: facilities, safety and educational activities for bicyclists and pedestrians; acquisition of easements for scenic or historic sites; scenic or historic highway programs (including tourist and welcome centers); landscaping, beautification, historic preservation; rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities (including historic railroad facilities and canals); preservation of abandoned railway corridors (including the conversion for use as bike and pedestrian paths); control and removal of outdoor advertising; archaeological planning and research; environmental mitigation to address highway created water pollution and establishing transportation museums.
The National Trust Loan Fund (NTLF) has more than 35 years of experience in supporting preservation-based community development projects across the country. As a certified Community Development Financial Institution, it has a mission of providing financial and technical resources to organizations that use historic preservation to support the revitalization of underserved and distressed communities.
NTLF specializes in predevelopment, acquisition, mini-permanent, bridge and rehabilitation loans for residential, commercial and public use projects. Eligible borrowers include not-for-profit organizations, revitalization organizations or real estate developers working in certified Main Street communities, local, state or regional governments, and for profit developers of older and/or historic buildings.
Area Office Contacts
- Belknap, Sullivan, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Rockingham Strafford, Merrimack Counties: Karen Demers at 603-223-6045 or Karen.Demers@nh.usda.gov
- Carroll, Coos, Grafton Counties: Anne Getchell at 603-447-3318 Ext. 5 or Anne.Getchell@nh.usda.gov