Financial Incentive Program: Historic Properties
Are you a current historic property owner? Looking to purchase a historic property? Want to have your property designated as historic? The City of Galveston supports your efforts in restoring, rehabilitating, and maintaining the historic nature of our Island community. On July 23rd, 2015, Galveston City Council unanimously approved a financial incentive program with three categories: substantial rehabilitation, new historic districts and Galveston landmarks, and new neighborhood conservation districts. To learn more about, please download the flyer (PDF).
Below is a synopsis of each to help you learn how you can take advantage of this unique opportunity!
1. Substantial Rehabilitation for Historic Properties – property owner invests at least 50% of value of the building and receives a 10-year “freeze” on City taxes. The property owner continues to pay City of Galveston taxes on the pre-improvement assessed value for 10 years. The property owner would pay taxes to the remainder of the taxing entities based on the current, post-improvement assessed value. The same benefit is proposed for both residential and commercial structures.
a. In order to qualify for the program, the building must be located in a locally designated historic district or be designated as a Galveston Landmark. If located in a historic district, the building must be “Contributing” or “Compatible”. Properties that are “Non-Contributing” may be considered if the proposed work would result in a reclassification to “Contributing” or “Compatible”. Properties classified as “Intrusion” would not be eligible.
b. The owner must invest an amount equal to at least 50% of the pre-improvement value of the property (i.e. the appraised value of the house per the Galveston Central Appraisal District, not including the land value, before the work begins). “Sweat equity,” for labor provided by the property owner, may be included in the cost of work.
c. Qualifying improvements must extend the life of the building, such as roof, foundation, and siding work; electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems work; and any other related structural work. Other improvements, such as interior work may be considered upon commitment to competition of structural work.
d. Improvements that increase the energy efficiency of the building, while retaining its historic integrity, may also be considered. Such improvements may include: rainwater harvesting, renewable energies, attic and floor insulation, interior window insulation, and radiant barriers.
e. The Historic Preservation Officer will review the scope of work in order to ensure conformance with the Design Standards for Historic Properties of Galveston, Texas.
f. After work is completed and upon approval and verification by the Landmark Commission, the request will be forwarded to the City Council for final approval.
g. The tax “freeze” is transferable upon sale of the property.
2. New Historic Districts and Galveston Landmarks – 35% tax exemption on City taxes for all property owners in newly designated historic districts and for Galveston Landmarks. Tax exemption would last for a period of five years. Tax exemption for Galveston Landmarks only applies for new designations outside of existing historic districts. The Tax Exemption shall be granted by City Council upon designation of new historic districts and Galveston Landmarks. The tax exemption is transferable upon sale of the property.
3. New Neighborhood Conservation Districts – 25% tax exemption on City taxes for all property owners in newly designated NCDs. Tax exemption would last for a period of five years. The tax exemption shall be granted by City Council upon designation of new Neighborhood Conservation Districts. The tax exemption is transferable upon sale of the property.
Catherine Gorman, AICP