Check out the National Trust for Historic Preservation's page on Commercial Funding
For those restoring or preserving income-producing properties, there are several publications available to help with your restoration. The National Trust's Historic Building information sheet can help you get started, along with publications from Preservation Books, including A Guide to Tax-Advantaged Rehabilitation.
Funding and tax incentives may be available for your restoration project at the federal, state and local level. To begin your search, contact your state historic preservation office (SHPO) and your statewide preservation organization.
The National Trust has prepared a state-by-state list of tax incentives detailing state tax incentive programs for historic preservation; however, the most up-to-date information will be available from your SHPO. You may also be able to find assistance at the local level by contacting your local preservation commission and your local planning, community development, or housing offices. In addition, please review the following programs.
National Trust Loan Fund
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.
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 and Main Street programs who refer deals that ultimately result in an equity investment by NTCIC.
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 our Rehabilitation Tax Credit Guide, prepared by our 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.)
Transportation Enhancement Funding
Since 1991, states have dedicated over $2 billion in Federal-aid highway funds to thousands of transportation-related historic preservation projects; historic resources have also benefited from transportation enhancement money for landscaping, land acquisition, historic bridge and road activities, and streetscapes in historic commercial districts. For more information on transportation enhancements funding, download Building on the Past, Traveling to the Future, a free guide prepared by the National Trust and the Federal Highway Administration, or visit the Transportation section of this website.
A quick search of the Internet using "historic preservation" and "funding" will bring up a number of other websites that will be useful, including those of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Foundation Center, and Cornell University. These sites include listings of private foundations and other groups that offer grants for historic preservation.
For more information on funding for historic buildings, please contact the National Trust's Resource Center.