Historic Property Preservation Incentives
Preservation is environmentally, economically, socially, and culturally sustainable. If that is not incentive enough, several federal, state, and local programs offer financial and zoning incentives to encourage preservation.
- Protects and Increases Property Value
- Manages Growth and Change
- Protects Community Identity
- Fulfills City Sustainability Goals (visit our Sustainability and Preservation page to learn more)
Visit the National Park Service's Technical Preservation Services page to learn more about Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives. The program provides a 10% or 20% tax credit for the rehabilitation of qualifying properties. To discuss your project and obtain an application and instructions for the Investment Tax Credit program, contact the Tennessee Historical Commission.
Qualifying properties are eligible to donate a historic preservation easement to Historic Nashville, Inc. An easement is a voluntary legal agreement in which a property owner grants the rights to their property's facade in exchange for a one-time tax deduction.
Tax credits are often available for home envelope improvements related to insulation, water heaters, and certain high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. Nashville Electric Service (NES) offers several energy incentive programs for qualifying energy efficient upgrades.
Metro Government provides property tax assistance for persons over the age of 65, the disabled, and veterans. Contact the Office of the Trustee for information about property tax relief, exemption, and freeze programs.
Grants and Loans
The Metro Grant Fund for the Rehabilitation of Historic Commercial Buildings is offered by the Metro Historical Commission and the City of Nashville Office of Economic and Community Development. This new grant program provides funding for the rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings within Tier-1 census tracts of Davidson County. The City has allocated $150,000 of its budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 for the program, for the purpose of preserving Nashville's unique and vibrant neighborhoods. Qualifying properties must also meet one of the following: National Register-listed, either individually or contributing within an NR-listed district; National Register-eligible, either individually or contributing with an NR-eligible district; or locally-designated as either a historic landmark or contributing within a local historic overlay. All properties that receive grant funding must be locally-landmarked, which provides protective measures against future inappropriate alteration or demolition. Grant award amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000 and shall cover up to 50% of the total project costs, paid out on a reimbursement basis. The grant funds are intended to assist with costs of construction-oriented activities that will result in the preservation and re-use or improved use of the historic commercial property, with the goal of increased public benefit. Funding is only applicable to work on exterior systems and material (such as repairs to roofs, windows, masonry, or siding) and cannot be used for interior projects. The Request for Proposals and application requirements can be found on the Office of Economic and Community Development's web page.
The National Trust Preservation Fund offers several types of financial assistance to nonprofit organizations, public agencies, for-profit companies, and individuals involved in preservation-related activities.
Through the Tennessee Historical Commission, our State Historic Preservation Office, the Federal government offers historic preservation matching grants for projects such as historic resource surveys, preservation planning, and National Register of Historic Places nominations.
The National Trust Community Investment Corporation makes equity investments in the rehabilitation of historic properties eligible for the federal Historic, Low-Income Housing, and New Markets Tax Credits. They work with a wide variety of property owners including for-profit developers, nonprofit organizations and local governments.
Through Transfer of Development Rights, historic properties in the downtown area may transfer, through sale or donation, a property's unused development rights to an area intended for higher-intensity development. For more information, see Section 17.12.120 of the Code of Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.
Rental income can assist with the maintenance or rehabilitation of an historic home. Detached Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed in historic zoning overlays that are zoned R80-R6, RM2-RM20-A, RM40-RM100A, OR20-OR40A, and ORI-ORI-A.
Rebuilding Together Nashville offers free home repairs for qualifying home owners.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville restores historic homes for families in need. The Habitat ReStore is a great resource for affordable salvaged and new materials.
Through the Preserve Loan Program, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency assists low- and moderate-income homeowners to make necessary home repairs with a low-cost loan program.