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Historic Preservation

 Contact Information

Dept Head: Karen McWilliams

Rehab Right

Owning a historic building that is part of the community's history is rewarding, but also comes with its own challenges and obligations. There are a lot of great reasons to take on that challenge, including the pride of owning a piece of history or a piece of building art, investing in the long-term economic well-being of a neighborhood, to realizing one of the biggest environmental savings an individual can make: conserving an existing building. 

Owners of designated historic properties in Fort Collins are eligible for several financial incentives to help plan with the care and maintenance of the city's recognized treasures. If you own an historic building, or plan to acquire one in the future, check out the information below about how to Rehab Right. 

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties are the national best practices for how to take care of historic resources, from buildings to landscapes and everything in between. They are the basis for most preservation practice in the United States, are required to be met for exterior developments on many of Fort Collins' historic properties, and are requirements for most financial incentives available to owners of historic property. At the link above, you'll find lots of great information from the National Park Service about how to take care of every aspect of an historic resource, from site improvements to windows to roofing. 

Not sure where to start? Contact the staff at the Historic Preservation Division and we can direct you to the guidance that's right for your problem or project. 

Rehab Right Programs

The City of Fort Collins offers several programs to help you Rehab Right! Whether its assisting you with developing a project, finding funding, or ensuring the long-term health of your building, Historic Preservation staff are available to help you find the best solution for your property. We can also help you prepare applications for loans, grants, or other incentives. Check out these programs that can help:

Design Assistance Program

Need help designing and planning a good project for your historic building? The City of Fort Collins grants up to $2,000 for owners of designated historic properties, or properties in/near Old Town, to provide no-obligation consultations with select architects, preservation contractors, or structural engineers to provide expert advice on design and construction issues affecting historic buildings. READ MORE...

Landmark Rehabilitation 0% Interest Loans

Need help financing a project on your historic property? The City of Fort Collins provides a matching loan program (1:1) for up to $7,500 each year, for approved exterior work. 

  • Who qualifies: Owners of properties designated as a Fort Collins Historic Landmark (individual or contributing to a Landmark District). 
  • What qualifies: Exterior work that meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. (Note: some major maintenance projects may not qualify, such as new roofing or painting.) 
  • Available Funding: $7,500 in matching loans (applicant must match at 1:1) per year. Loans carry no interest but must be repaid at or before the point of sale to a new owner. Applications are competitive. 
  • APPLY AND LEARN MORE...

Other Financial Incentives

Owners of historic property in Fort Collins have access to a significant array of tools and resources to help maintain historic buildings. Check out the programs below and see if they're the right fit for your next project, such as the State's Historic Tax Credit. 

State Financial Incentives

Colorado State Historic Tax Credits

A State Tax Credit for 20% of qualified expenses on historic properties.

  • Who qualifies: Residential or commercial owners of designated historic properties (National Register, State Register, or Fort Collins Landmark), either individually or a contributing resource in a designated historic district. 
  • What qualifies: Interior and exterior work that meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation
  • Available Funding: Costs must exceed $5,000 but are capped at $50,000 per property. Any unused credit may be carried forward ten years. 
  • Where to Apply & Learn More: History Colorado's Office of Historic Preservation and Archaeology

State Historic Fund Grants

An assortment of competitive and non-competitive grants available for non-profit organizations and public (state or local) entities,

  • Who qualifies: Non-profit organizations and public (state and local) entities, or private owners if a non-profit or public entity applies and administers the grant on their behalf. 
  • What qualifies: Historical research, historic resource survey, property specific or community-wide planning, preservation/rehabilitation of a designated historic resource, etc. 
  • Available Funding: Varies, up to $200,000 per application. Up to $10,000 for non-competitive grants. 
  • Where to Apply & Learn More: History Colorado's State Historic Fund
City Financial Incentives

Affordable Housing and CDBG Grants

Check out the City's Social Sustainability resources for affordable housing, including state and federal tax incentives for developers seeking to incorporate affordable housing into their projects. Social Sustainability also leverages their HOME Program and federal Community Development Block Grants to leverage investment in under-served areas. Historic building rehabilitations often incorporate affordable housing, include hotels, apartment buildings, and larger residences that are transitioning to multi-family dwellings. 

Energy Efficiency

Check out Fort Collins Utilities resources for energy efficiency, including the EPIC Homes programs. Frequently, repairs and modifications to historic features like doors, windows, and siding, as well as adding insulation to the walls and attic, can have significant positive effects on energy efficiency while retaining historic character. 

Downtown Development Authority

The Downtown Development Authority offers several resources to help business owners downtown establish and maintain their businesses, including facade funds and tax increment investments. Many of the buildings downtown are designated as City Landmarks or are part of the Old Town Historic District. 

Federal Financial Incentives

Federal Historic Tax Credits

A Federal Tax Credit for 20% of qualified expenses on income-producing historic properties. This can be claimed in addition to the 20% State Tax Credit. 

  • Who qualifies: Owners of income-producing (commercial, office, rental residential, etc.) properties that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places either individually or a contributing resource in an historic district. 
  • What qualifies: Interior and exterior work that meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation
  • Available Funding: Costs must meet the adjusted basis for the property, or a minimum of $5,000 - there is no cap on the amount of credit that can be claimed. Any unused credit may be carried back one year, or forward twenty years. 
  • Where to Apply & Learn More: the National Park Service
Non-Profit Financial Programs

Colorado Historic Foundation Loans

Below market, fixed-rate loans to complete work on, or acquire, designated historic properties.

  • Who qualifies: Owners of, or prospective buyers of, designated historic properties (National Register, Colorado State Register, or City of Fort Collins Landmark), either individual or contributing to an historic district. 
  • What qualifies: Preservation projects that meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties, or acquisition of historic properties.
  • Available Funding: Varies - negotiable fixed interest rates generally at or below prime, with flexible repayment schedules and terms, generally up to five years. 
  • Where to Apply & Learn MoreColorado Historical Fund