Landmarks Illinois Reinvestment Program

(Pictured: “Artists on the 9” Project ribbon cutting event, April 26, 2022. 735 E. 79th Street, Chicago)



Landmarks Illinois offers Reinvestment Program loans that help move preservation projects forward by providing more accessible lending terms where conventional financing may be unavailable. This type of program is often called a revolving loan fund by many preservation organizations. When the loan is repaid, it “revolves” by going back out the door to help another project. The Reinvestment Program Loan Fund was established in 2018 through a generous donation from The 1772 Foundation. In 2023, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation awarded Landmarks Illinois a substantial grant that significantly increased its capacity to lend in the city of Chicago.



Read our guidelines below to learn about eligibility, types of projects, size of loans, how to apply and the loan application review process.

The following types of projects may be eligible for a Reinvestment Program loan:

  • Pre-development projects, including, but not limited to, site surveys and studies, design and financial services
  • Construction loans
  • Operating loans when necessary to open or support a business in an older and historic property
  • Property acquisition and single-family residential loans are not currently eligible.



  • The borrower may be a nonprofit organization or for-profit corporation. Generally, individuals that do not have a corporate entity will not qualify.
  • The term “project” can refer to a building, structure or site.
  • Projects may be a designated historic place at the local, state or national level, or a non-designated older building. (“Older” will be defined through conversations about the project).
  • Projects must be located within Illinois. The program began by focusing lending in Chicago’s historically under-resourced neighborhoods, but the Landmarks Illinois Reinvestment Committee is willing to consider projects throughout the state.
  • The project property may be owned or leased by the borrower. Leased property must receive proof of the owner’s permission of the project prior to receiving a loan.



As of 2023, the program may lend up to $500,000 per project depending on the amount remaining in the Reinvestment Program Loan Fund. Landmarks Illinois works to provide loans where or when traditional financing is unavailable and does not have set loan interest rates or terms. Loan terms take the project into consideration and are negotiated with the borrower.



There are no application deadlines for Reinvestment Program loans. Loan applications are processed as received and are considered monthly by the Landmarks Illinois Reinvestment Committee. Landmarks Illinois’ ability to make loans depends upon the amount of available funding in the Reinvestment Program Loan Fund.



Contact Suzanne Germann, Director of Reinvestment, by emailing to discuss applying for a Reinvestment Program loan or to make a donation toward the loan fund.



Landmarks Illinois acknowledges the generous donors whose contributions created the Reinvestment Program Loan Fund, including The 1772 Foundation and three private donors.



The Landmarks Illinois Board of Directors approved launching the Reinvestment Program in 2015, envisioning it as the umbrella for our financial-based tools helping people save places statewide, including our existing preservation easements and grants programs, and future lending. As of 2023, the Reinvestment Program now fulfills this vision by offering preservation easements, four grant funds and a revolving loan program.

In 2016, our work began to re-launch our revolving loan fund, originally called the Landmarks Preservation Fund, which we offered from the late 1970s to its close out in 2004. Between 2016 and 2022, Landmarks Illinois commissioned two studies demonstrating the need and feasibility for a loan fund, created the revolving loan fund parameters and evaluated several pilot projects.

Landmarks Illinois made its first Reinvestment Program loan in February 2022 to the Greater Chatham Initiative (GCI) to help finance a preservation project in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. GCI, a nonprofit, is a local anchor institution driving coordinated planning and economic growth in four South Side neighborhoods: Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park, Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing. The loan funded historic storefront repairs at 735 E. 79th St., located within the Chatham-Greater Grand Crossing Commercial Historic District, which will house GCI’s “Artists on the 9” program. The “Artists on the 9” program hosts work and gallery space for three-to-five local artists in the storefront with the intention of creating a community gathering space and inspiring other investments along E. 79th Street. Read more about this loan project here.

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