Other Incentives and Grants

The following is a listing of preservation-related funding sources for not-for profits, municipalities, and private owners. Please follow the links for specific guidelines and deadline information. Please note that Landmarks Illinois has compiled this list for your convenience but does not administer any of the following incentives or grants.

Financial incentives for historic preservation projects fall into four major categories: federal rehabilitation tax credits, local incentives, low-interest loans, and grants. Only non-profit and government entities are eligible for most grants. Private, for-profit property owners may be eligible for grants at the local level. Always be sure to check with your local preservation commission about incentives that may be available in your municipality.

To read the Historic Preservation Financial Incentive Face Sheet, a document issued by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, please click here.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION INCENTIVES FOR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES

Property Tax Assessment Freeze for Historic Residences

The Property Tax Assessment Freeze for Historic Residences freezes property taxes over a 12-year period after rehabilitation of the property. There is a minimum investment of 25% the property’s market value, as determined by the County Assessor. The building must be owner-occupied (single family home, condominium, cooperative unit, or multi-family building up to 6 units) and a certified historic structure. Learn more here.

20% Federal Historic Tax Credit

A 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating a historic building to an income-producing use. This dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit, equal to 20% of the qualified construction costs and expenses, may be used by the building owner or syndicated to a tax-credit investor. To qualify for the credit, rehabilitation costs must exceed the building’s “adjusted basis” – that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation, (prior improvements by the current owner. Because someone will be buying this building and then working on it, there will be no prior improvements). The building must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places before the project is completed. The program is administered by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service.

25% State Historic Tax Credit

A 25% State Historic Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating a historic building to an income-producing use. This a competitive, dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit, equal to 25% of the qualified construction costs and expenses, must be coupled with the 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit. Each project that qualifies can apply for 25% of its qualifying rehabilitation expenditures (QREs) up to a total of $3 million in state income tax credits. No project can receive more than $3 million in Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credits. To qualify for the credit, rehabilitation costs must exceed the building’s “adjusted basis” – that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation. The building must be a certified historic structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places before the project is completed. In addition, applications that meet one of the following criteria will be prioritized: 1). the qualified historic structure is located in a county that borders a state with a historic property rehabilitation credit; 2). the qualified historic structure was previously owned by a federal, state or local governmental entity; 3). the qualified historic structure is located in a census tract that has a median family income at or below the state median family income; 4). the qualified rehabilitation plan includes in the development partnership a Community Development Entity or a low-profit (B Corporation) or not-for-profit organization; 5). the qualified historic structure is located in an area declared under an Emergency Declaration of Major Disaster Declaration under the federal Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The program is administered by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office.

preservation easement donation

A preservation easement is a legal agreement that assigns a qualified nonprofit organization the right to review and approve alterations to a property for the purpose of preserving it in perpetuity. The donation of a preservation easement may be eligible for a one-time charitable federal income tax deduction, which is based on the appraised value of the preservation easement. To be eligible for the deduction, the property must be a certified historic structure either listed in the National Register of Historic Places individually or contributing to a NR district, or be contributing to a local landmark district. Landmarks Illinois accepts easement donations. To learn more, please call 312-922-1742. You can also visit our Preservation Easements webpage.

Permit Fee Waiver program

Through the Permit Fee Waiver program, the City of Chicago waives all building permit fees for individual Chicago landmark buildings or those contributing to a Chicago landmark district. Obtaining fee waivers requires prior application. For more information, call the Landmarks Division of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development at 312-744-3200.

Greystone Initiative

The Greystone Initiative has a limited pool of funding to help promote the rehab of income eligible, owner-occupied one- to two-unit greystone residences in Chicago. Greystone owners who take out a rehab, purchase-rehab, or refinance-rehab loan from Neighborhood Lending Services, Neighborhood Housing Services’ non-profit lending affiliate, can receive a forgivable loan up to $10,000 to help write down the cost of green, historic, and other quality-of-life improvements such as kitchen and baths remodels. Available through mid-August on a first-come, first-served basis until exhausted. Learn more here.

Eugene D. Funk Grant Program

The Eugene D. Funk Grant Program provides the owners of historic properties in Bloomington, IL, with financial assistance in the preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of exterior architectural features. Learn more here.

 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION INCENTIVES FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES

Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program

The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state income tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s qualified expenditures to owners of certified historic structures located within River Edge Redevelopment Zones (Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Rockford, and soon Peoria) who undertake certified rehabilitation projects during the taxable year. For information on the current program, administered jointly by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, click here. To identify properties in Rockford that may qualify for this incentive click here.

20% Federal Historic Tax Credit

A 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating a historic building to an income-producing use. This dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit, equal to 20% of the qualified construction costs and expenses, may be used by the building owner or syndicated to a tax-credit investor. To qualify for the credit, rehabilitation costs must exceed the building’s “adjusted basis” – that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation, (prior improvements by the current owner. Because someone will be buying this building and then working on it, there will be no prior improvements). The building must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places before the project is completed. The program is administered by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service.

25% State Historic Tax Credit

A 25% State Historic Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating a historic building to an income-producing use. This a competitive, dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit, equal to 25% of the qualified construction costs and expenses, must be coupled with the 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit. Each project that qualifies can apply for 25% of its qualifying rehabilitation expenditures (QREs) up to a total of $3 million in state income tax credits. No project can receive more than $3 million in Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credits. To qualify for the credit, rehabilitation costs must exceed the building’s “adjusted basis” – that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation. The building must be a certified historic structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places before the project is completed. In addition, applications that meet one of the following criteria will be prioritized: 1). the qualified historic structure is located in a county that borders a state with a historic property rehabilitation credit; 2). the qualified historic structure was previously owned by a federal, state or local governmental entity; 3). the qualified historic structure is located in a census tract that has a median family income at or below the state median family income; 4). the qualified rehabilitation plan includes in the development partnership a Community Development Entity or a low-profit (B Corporation) or not-for-profit organization; 5). the qualified historic structure is located in an area declared under an Emergency Declaration of Major Disaster Declaration under the federal Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The program is administered by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office.

barn or agricultural building rehabilitation incentives

For barn or agricultural building rehabilitation incentives, see section 179 of the Farmers Tax Guide (publication 225) for tax deduction information. One can deduct the cost of rehabilitating a single-purpose agricultural structure up to $25,000 in 2003. Use IRS form 4562 (Depreciation Deduction). www.irs.gov Also see 10% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit above.

preservation easement donation

preservation easement donation is a one-time charitable federal income tax deduction equal to the appraised value of the preservation easement. A preservation easement is a legal agreement that assigns a qualified non-profit organization the right to review and approve alterations to a property for the purpose of preserving it in perpetuity. Property must be a certified historic structure on the National Register of Historic Places, individually listed, contributing to a district, or contributing to a local landmark district. Landmarks Illinois accepts easement donations. To learn more, please call 312-922-1742.

conservation easement

conservation easement leaves farms and open land in private ownership and can result in an income tax reduction. It may also reduce property and estate taxes. For more information contact that Land Trust Alliance at 202-638-4725 or visit its website. For DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties, contact the Conservation Foundation at 630-428-4500.

Cook County Class-L Property Tax Incentive

The Cook County Class-L Property Tax Incentive is a 10-year property tax reduction for rehabilitating a commercial or industrial landmark building. The minimum investment is 50% of the building’s assessed value (the total assessed value minus the land value) as determined by the County Assessor. For more information, view the Class L Eligibility Bulletin or call the Cook County Assessor’s Office, Office of Special Assessment Programs at 312-603-5331 or the Landmarks Division of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development at 312-744-3200.

Permit Fee Waiver program

Through the Permit Fee Waiver program, the City of Chicago waives all building permit fees for individual Chicago landmark buildings or those contributing to a Chicago landmark district. Obtaining fee waivers requires prior application. For more information, call the Landmarks Division of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development at 312-744-3200.

Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program provides funding assistance in the form of cost-share grants to support the preservation of significant Route 66 buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural landscapes in the eight states through which the route passes. Assistance is also provided to support research, planning, oral history, and education outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66. Grants are open to individuals, business owners, educational institutions, and local, state, and tribal agencies.

Eugene D. Funk Grant Program

The Eugene D. Funk Grant Program provides the owners of historic properties in Bloomington, IL, with financial assistance in the preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of exterior architectural features. Learn more here.

 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION INCENTIVES FOR NOT-FOR-PROFITS, MUNICIPALITIES & GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

Landmarks Illinois’ Preservation Heritage Fund Grants

Landmarks Illinois’ Preservation Heritage Fund Grants are intended to provide monetary assistance to significant structures or sites in Illinois that are under threat of demolition, in imminent deterioration, in need of stabilization, in need of structural or re-use evaluation, or need to be evaluated for landmark eligibility. The Heritage Fund was established in 2004. To receive more information on project eligibility and an application, contact Suzanne Germann at 312-922-1742 or sgermann@landmarks.org.

Save America’s Treasures Grants

The Federal Save America’s Treasures grants program began in 1999 and helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections that convey our nation’s rich heritage to future generations of Americans. The National Park Service (NPS) announces availability of $13 million in Historic Preservation Fund grants for the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) program. SAT grants provide preservation and/or conservation assistance to nationally significant historic properties and collections. Grants will be awarded through a competitive process and require a dollar-for-dollar, non-Federal match, which can be cash or documented in-kind. Grants will be administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Applications are currently being accepted for this grant program. All applications are due through grants.gov by December 3, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. The application for Save America’s Treasures grants for collections is available on grants.gov under funding opportunity number P18AS00727. The application for Save America’s Treasures grants for preservation projects is available on grants.gov under funding opportunity number P18AS00728.

National Fund For Sacred Places

The National Fund for Sacred Places is a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Fund is guided by an Advisory Committee, bringing together faith leaders, architects and philanthropists from across the country to inform the grant-making process. The Fund provides 1) grants for the planning and execution of urgent capital projects at historic sacred places that are valued for their cultural importance as well as their role in providing human services, strengthening communities, and revitalizing neighborhoods; and 2) training, capacity-building and technical assistance to ensure that grant-funded projects are successfully planned and implemented. Learn more here.

Home Depot Foundation

Home Depot Foundation provides grants up to $5,000 to organizations using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. Grants are given in the form of Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Learn more here.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Fund

The National Trust for Historic Preservation Fund grants encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects. Grants are awarded annually in three competitive rounds: February 1, June 1, and October 1. For more information on this program, please read the guidelines and eligibility page on their website.

African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

In November, 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation also launched its African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, “designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscapes representing African American cultural heritage.” Guidelines can be found here.

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation provides grants to upgrade the energy efficiency and lighting of public and non-profit facilities. Historic buildings are prioritized. Contact IllinoisCleanEnergy.org or  312-372-5191.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ Tourism Attraction Grant Program

Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ Tourism Attraction Grant Program funds heritage tourism-related historic preservation projects. Property must be open to the public on a regular basis at least 5 days a week. Proof that the project will result in visitors staying overnight in hotels is required. Projects are funded on a matching basis. Call 217-524-2998 to learn more. GOV OR NFP

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE CERTIFIED LOCAL GOVERNMENT MATCHING GRANTS

The Illinois State Historic Preservation Office’s Certified Local Government (CLG) Matching Grants provide funding for historic resource inventory surveys, projects that involve planning, National Register listing, public outreach and education. Learn more here.

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) provides funding for community based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the transportation infrastructure. Learn more here.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ Public Museums Grants Program

Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ Public Museums Grants Program provides operating funds and capital project funding to museums that are operated by or located on land owned by a unit of government. Museum must be in existence for 2 years and have a professional staff. Contact the Division of Grants at (217) 782-7481 or learn more here.

Retirement Research Foundation’s Accessible Faith Grant Program

Retirement Research Foundation’s Accessible Faith Grant Program helps Chicago area houses of worship finance accessibility improvements to their facilities. Learn more here.

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program provides funding assistance in the form of cost-share grants to support the preservation of significant Route 66 buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural landscapes in the eight states through which the route passes. Assistance is also provided to support research, planning, oral history, and education outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66. Grants are open to individuals, business owners, educational institutions, and local, state, and tribal agencies. Learn more here.

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) provides funding for community based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the transportation infrastructure. Learn more here.

AMTRAK® Great American Stations

AMTRAK® Great American Stations is a program to help communities discover the economic power of America’s train stations. This website has a listing of federal and non-federal grant programs. It is a guide for communities that are looking for funding sources for rail station development. Learn more here.

 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION INCENTIVES FOR INDIVIDUALS

Diversity Scholarship Program aims to increase the diversity of participants at the annual National Preservation Conference and in the preservation movement. The program provides financial assistance to approximately 60 community leaders from diverse social, economic, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to attend the National Preservation Conference. Contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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