Morningside Heights Historic District Council

Preserving, Improving, and Telling the Story of our Community

Benefits of a Historic District

“…preservation and enhancement of New York City’s historic resources — its neighborhoods, buildings, parks and public spaces—are central to the continued success of the city.”

Historic Districts Council

ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF A HISTORIC DISTRICT

To learn more about the economic benefits of a historic district please take a look at the following report prepared by Gregory G. Dietrich: A Proven Success.

There are a number of financial incentives and support available to help purchase, maintain and restore historic properties. City, state and national preservation offices and commissions as well as non-profit organizations offer grants, low-interest loans and tax incentives to property owners to restore or rehabilitate their buildings. Generally, to qualify buildings must be listed as individual landmarks, as part of an historic district of New York City, or on the New York State or National Register of Historic Places. This brochure provides an overview of the variety and sources of this assistance. To learn more about the application process and eligibility criteria, contact information for each administering organization is provided.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission administers the Historic Preservation Grant Program, which provides $10,000 to $15,000 to help owners restore their homes. This grant covers exterior repairs, primarily of the street façade including masonry rebuilding and mortar repointing, replacement of windows and front doors and cornice restoration. In order to qualify the home must be a designated or proposed New York City landmark, part of a designated historic district, or listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Additionally, owners or their tenants must meet federal guidelines for low- and moderate-income households. If you receive a grant you must occupy the home for at least five years after the work is completed; if you sell or move out of the building before that time you will be required to return the grant funds on a pro-rated basis.

The Historic Preservation Grant Program for Nonprofits offers grants of up to $25,000 for nonprofits that own or occupy designated individual or interior New York City landmarks, buildings that are part of an historic district, or listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Funds can be used for repairs of the exterior of the building, primarily of the street façade and landmark designated interiors. To qualify the organization must be a charitable, scientific, literary, educational or other entity under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

For further information about these grant programs please visit http://www.nyc.gov/landmarks or contact The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Historic Preservation Grant Program Director at (212) 669-7944 or at the Municipal Building.

The New York State Historic Preservation Office administers the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program for Income Producing Properties for the rehabilitation of historic properties. Owners of income producing properties – commercial, industrial, or residential rental – may be eligible for a 20% federal income tax credit for substantial rehabilitation work.

This tax credit must be used with the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program for Income Producing Properties. Owners of income producing properties that have been approved to receive the 20% federal rehabilitation tax credit may qualify for an additional state tax credit. Owners can receive 30% of the federal credit value up to $100,000.

• Help for Low-Income Property Owners

Rehabilitation of owner-occupied residential buildings may qualify for New York State Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit, of up to 20% of the cost of the work, not to exceed $25,000. Homes must be located in a “distressed” census tract defined as “targeted areas” under Section 143 ( J) of the Internal Revenue Code.

For more information about the New York State historic preservation tax credit programs please visit www.nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo or contact the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation office at (518) 237-8643, ext. 3252.

• Low-Interest Loans for Property Owners

The Historic Properties Fund offers low-interest loans and project management assistance to owners of historic residential, nonprofit, religious and commercial properties, mostly in low– to moderate– income communities. Loans generally apply to exterior work or structural repairs and range from $20,000 to $300,000.

• Help for Nonprofit Owners of Unprotected Historic Buildings

The City Ventures Fund helps nonprofit developers retain and restore the historic details of architecturally significant buildings that are being converted to affordable housing or will serve as a space for other services of benefit to lower income communities. This fund is specifically for buildings that are not designated as landmarks. Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000 and in addition to funding, nonprofit developers receive project management support.

• Resources for Religious Institutions

The Sacred Sites Program provides financial and technical assistance for the maintenance, repair, and restoration of historic religious properties of all denominations throughout New York State. Sacred Sites Grants provide grants of up to $10,000 for exterior restoration projects with a focus on essential repairs to the primary worship building, such as roofing and drainage system repairs; masonry repointing and restoration; structural repairs; and stained glass window repair and restoration. Additional challenge and consulting services grants may be available.

For further information about the programs administered by The New York Landmarks Conservancy please visit www.nylandmarks.org/assistance.php or contact the Conservancy at (212) 995-5260.

• Charitable Donation of Property

The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program allows an owner of an historic property to donate an historic preservation easement on the exterior of the property to a qualified easement– holding organization, and as a result of this donation, claim a tax deduction for the appraised value of the easement.

An historic preservation easement is a legal agreement to protect in perpetuity a building’s historic exterior. Internal Revenue Tax Code Section 170(h) outlines the specific requirements for a donor to be eligible for a tax deduction for an historic preservation easement donation. Property owners should consult their legal and/or tax advisors to understand the benefits and implications of an easement donation.

More information about easement donations can be found here http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/legal-resources/easements. To find qualified organizations that are accepting easements, contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation Northeast Regional Office at (617) 523-0885 or, inf0@nthp.org. Or, you may contact the New York State Historic Preservation Office at (518) 474-0443.

• Tax Relief for Rehabilitation

The J-51 Program provides tax benefits in the form of a tax exemption and/or a tax abatement to owners for the significant renovation of residential buildings or the conversion of a property into a residential building. To qualify the work must include significant repairs to the street facing façade and be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The tax exemption benefit relieves owners from paying increases on the assessed value of the property as a result of the completed work. A tax abatement reduces the current tax liability by a percentage of the cost of the repairs. For more information please visit http://www.nyc.gov/hpd and see the section for developers. Click on the tax incentives link to find out more about the J-51 Program.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development also offers other types of financial assistance including low-interest loans to help renovate and restore residential buildings, whether or not the building is designated as historic. Visit http://www.nyc.gov/hpd and see the section for homeowners for more information.

This information was provided by the Historic Districts Council: http://www.hdc.org/.

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