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Metro Initiates Grant Program for Historic Commercial Buildings

November 6, 2017

Mayor Megan Barry’s Office of Economic and Community Development and the Metro Historical Commission (MHC) are requesting proposals for a pilot grant program that will provide funding to assist with the rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings within eligible Census tracts in Davidson County. 

“As Nashville grows, we need to be very deliberate about protecting and preserving the rich history of our historic buildings, which tell the story of our city,” said Mayor Barry. “These historic commercial rehabilitation grants will assist local business owners with making much needed repairs and revitalizing the essence of their historic building’s character. Funds will not only provide needed financial support to applicants, but will also help ensure that Nashville’s diverse architectural heritage is preserved and historic economic corridors are strengthened.” 

Mayor Barry allocated and the Metro Council approved $150,000 in the FY 17-18 budget for the program, which will revitalize historic commercial corridors and encourage the preservation of Nashville’s cultural heritage, embodied in its architectural fabric.

Eligible properties must be located within Census tracts in which at least 65 percent of households are at or below 80 percent of area median income. They also must meet one of the following:

  • Contributing status within an historic overlay district or a district that meets the criteria for designation as an historic overlay district
  • Individually listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, as determined by the MHC or the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC)
  • Contributing status within a district that is listed or determined eligible for listing in the National Register by MHC or THC

Grants are available to cover up to 50 percent of the documented investment of the applicant, up to a maximum grant amount of $50,000 and a minimum grant amount of $5,000. Funding can only be used for exterior construction work or rehabilitation of commercial, non-residential, historic buildings that meet the above-listed criteria. Funding is provided on a reimbursement basis.

Tim Walker, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Historical Commission, echoed the Mayor’s enthusiasm. “Historic preservation has long since proven to be a successful tool for sustainable economic and community development. This commercial grant program represents the nexus of cultural heritage preservation, economic development, and architectural conservation, acting as an incentive that encourages the re-use of Nashville’s historic commercial buildings. While we hope to grow the program and be able to offer increased grant assistance in the coming years, I am certain the impact of these pilot projects will be lasting, and the work will result in increased pride of ownership and community stability.”

More information on this grant program and RFP

Proposals are due December 31.