Maryland Heritage Areas Loans for Capital Projects and Business Development

Discover Annapolis Tours used a Heritage Areas Loan to begin offering guided tours of the Annapolis Historic DistrictThe Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) may award loans to non-profit organizations, local jurisdictions, individuals, and business entities to assist with the preservation of heritage resources and the enhancement of heritage attractions and visitor services located within Certified Heritage Area (CHA) Target Investment Zones (Contact your local CHA management entity to determine if you are in a Target Investment Zone).

The maximum loan commitment made for any specific project is limited by the available uncommitted balance in the MHAA Financing Fund at the time of application.  Up to 50 percent of the total project cost will be provided based on an assessment of the applicant’s financial need.  Refinancing will not be considered part of the project cost.

For more information on loans for capital projects, email or call Richard Hughes, MHAA Administrator, or (410) 514-7685.


Eligible Activities

Eligible uses of loan funds include:

  • Acquisition:  Acquisition of fee title or interest other than fee title of real property. 
  • Rehabilitation :  Activities directed to sustain the existing form, integrity, and material of a building, structure, or site.  Includes repair or alteration that makes possible a contemporary use while preserving those features of the property which are significant to its historical, architectural, and cultural values.    
  • Restoration:  Activities directed to accurately recovering the form and details of property and its setting as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of later work or by the replacement of missing earlier work.
  • New construction:  Eligible use of loan funds if design is responsive to relevant design guidelines.
  • Leasehold improvements: Rehabilitation, restoration, or minor new construction activities are eligible uses of loan funds if the term of the lease is at least equal to the term of the loan. 
  • Purchase of equipment, furnishings, inventory:  Loan funds may be made available in combination with other capital improvements and may be made for the purchase of  major capital equipment.


Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local jurisdictions, individuals, and business entities.  Non-profit organizations and business entities must be in good standing, qualified to do business in Maryland and have the legal capacity and authority to incur obligations required by MHAA.


Standards & Requirements

To be eligible for an MHAA loan, the project must address or complete a priority activity outlined in the approved CHA Management Plan.  Only projects located in CHA Target Investment Zones are eligible for loan funding (Contact your local CHA management entity to determine if you are in a Target Investment Zone).

  • All capital project activity must conform with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
  • Projects that are otherwise eligible for funding through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program (NBWP) - formerly named the Neighborhood Business Development Program - will not be considered for MHAA funding unless an application has also been submitted to NBWP. More information on the NDWP is available on DHCD’s web site.


Loan Terms and Conditions

  • Interest rate is below market, based on underwriter’s analysis
  • Target loan term is 5-10 years, depending on use and loan size
  • Minimum 5 % applicant capital cash contribution is required (based on total new project cost)
  • Personal guarantees and collateral are required.
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No origination fees
  • Appropriate acknowledgment of MHAA assistance by means of on-site signage, use of MHAA logo on project materials, or other methods may be required.


Application Process and Timeline

MHAA may accept loan applications at any time provided that the loan amount does not exceed the available uncommitted balance in the MHAA Financing Fund at the time of application, prior to submitting an application please contact MHAA to determine if loan funding is available.
All loan applications must be accompanied by written evidence that the management entity for the CHA endorses the project and the applicant as the appropriate lead agent for the project.

A complete MHAA loan application consisting of the items on the Required Documentation Checklist in the application package must be submitted before a project can be fully processed.



This page updated: May 19, 2009