Historic Preservation Loan Program for Capital Projects

The Maryland Historical Trust Historic Preservation Loan Program was established by the General Assembly in 1973 to encourage the preservation of historic properties statewide. Over 85 projects have been funded through the program.

Application Process

Please know there are two different types of applications, loan and transfer. Before submitting an application, you should contact program staff (see below) to discuss your project's eligibility and review the Guidelines and applications. Application evaluation criteria are in the Guidelines and applications. The period from time of application until time of settlement generally averages six to nine months.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants for loans include:

  • Nonprofits
  • Local governments
  • Business entities
  • Individuals

Please note that homeowner occupied residential properties are usually not competitive for this program unless they are of exceptional historical significance. Business entities and individuals must demonstrate an inability to obtain private financing. All applicants should be aware that the project must have a demonstrated public benefit to be competitive.

Certain nonprofits are eligible to apply for a nonrepayable transfer of funds from the program. This component of the program is new for FY2024 and is only available to a "qualified cooperating nonprofit organization," meaning a nonprofit organization that is based in the state of Maryland; operates statewide; and has demonstrated experience rehabilitating historic structures, managing preservation funds, and holding preservation easements.

Eligible Projects

The following project types are eligible for loan assistance:

  • Acquisition
  • Refinancing
  • Rehabilitation
  • Predevelopment costs such as studies, surveys, plans and specifications, and architectural, engineering, or other special services directly related to pre-construction work for a capital project (eligible for short-term financing only, and only in specific circumstances)

Eligible costs under the transfer program are limited to:

  • Acquisition of historic properties or interests in historic properties for resale or lease;
  • Rehabilitation or restoration of historic properties for resale or lease; Providing loans to other nonprofit organizations, political subdivisions, and business entities to acquire, rehabilitate, restore, or refinance historic properties;
  • Providing loans to individuals to rehabilitate or restore National Historic Landmarks;
  • and certain administrative costs and programmatic expenses.

Eligible Properties

  • The assisted property must be listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Structures used for religious purposes are generally eligible for assistance for exterior and structural work only and are reviewed for eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Spaces used primarily for religious purposes or elements bearing religious imagery are not eligible for funding.
  • For loans, a preservation easement on the assisted property must be conveyed to MHT (for more information, visit the MHT Preservation Easements page).

Loan Terms

The principal amount of the loan is limited by the following:

  • The available uncommitted balance in the loan fund at the time of application.
  • The borrower's ability to repay the loan.
  • For acquisition projects, the loan amount typically cannot exceed 80% of the appraised value of the assisted property, or 90% of the purchase price, whichever is less.
  • For rehabilitation projects, the loan amount typically cannot exceed 80% of the after rehabilitation appraised value of the assisted property (minus existing mortgage balances), or 100% of the project costs, whichever is less.
  • For refinancing projects, the loan typically cannot exceed 80% of the appraised value of the assisted property.
  • The maximum loan principal amount for ANY proposed project is the after-rehabilitation value of the historic property to be assisted, less the outstanding amount of any pre-existing indebtedness secured by the historic property.

The loan term is defined by project type as follows:

  • For pre-development projects, the maximum loan term is two years.
  • For all other projects, the maximum loan term is twenty years.

The interest rate is determined within the following parameters:

  • Loans to business entities and individuals bear interest at a fixed annual rate 1/8 percent higher than the most recently sold State general obligation bonds.
  • Loans to non-profit organizations and political subdivisions may bear interest, if any, at a rate not to exceed that for business entities or individuals.

Other Requirements

A complete loan application typically includes the following. Additional documentation will be required by MHT during the loan approval and closing process.

  • Application form & required attachments;
  • Supporting documentation sufficient to evaluate the borrower's ability to repay the loan (tax returns, financial statements, cash flow projections);
  • Supporting documentation to demonstrate the cost to complete the project and the borrower's proposed sources and uses of other project funds;
  • Documentation sufficient to evaluate the value of the property (typically an appraisal, rehabilitation scope, etc.);
  • For business entities and individual borrowers, evidence of having sought to obtain financing through the private sector;
  • Total fee of $1,000 or 10% of loan amount, whichever is less; $250 due at time of application; balance due at settlement.

Additional information regarding borrowers’ responsibilities, including competitive procurement of services, MHT approval of proposed work, reporting, etc. is provided in the Program Guidelines and Loans Manual.

For information about the Capital Loan program, please contact Bill Hersch, Capital Grants and Loans Administrator, at bill.hersch@maryland.gov or (410) 697-9574.

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