Historic Preservation Demostration Project Program

The Demonstration Project Program uses Historic Preservation Bond funds to encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of significant historic commercial, multi-family and/or institutional (museums, non-profit offices, churches, etc.) buildings. The program pays up to 50 percent of eligible rehabilitation costs for projects which substantially preserve, restore and/or rehabilitate significant historic properties in the city of Phoenix. The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) will consider funding requests over $10,000, with the maximum funding amount based on the extent to which the project meets the Project Selection Criteria, the extent of the project's needs, and the availability of funds.

Program Goals And Principles
The Demonstration Project Program provides funding assistance for historic rehabilitation projects which best demonstrate city historic preservation goals and objectives. The program purpose is to encourage those historic rehabilitation projects which retain historic building materials and features, reverse inappropriate alterations, reconstruct missing historic details, and return a building to its historic appearance. All projects are required to meet the city's Historic Preservation Guidelines (PDF), as well as the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Project Selection Criteria
The city's decision to fund an application is based on the application's quality and completeness, and the extent to which the project meets city historic preservation objectives. Priority for funding is given to projects which:

  • Undertake critically needed stabilization, preservation, restoration or reconstruction work;
  • Implement a comprehensive rehabilitation strategy for a building, including projects that adaptively reuse a historic building in order to preserve it (such as the conversion of a house into a restaurant);
  • Exemplify the city's Preservation Philosophy (PDF);
  • Preserve a property that is individually listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register or eligible for individual listing on the Phoenix Historic Property Register;
  • Improve the appearance of a historic neighborhood, area, streetscape, or individually significant site;
  • Further city community development goals for designated Neighborhood Initiative Areas, Re-development Areas or consistent with other city plans; and
  • Provide maximum leverage of city funds through the use of private funds or other monies.

Eligible Improvements
The program's primary focus is to assist projects that substantially rehabilitate the exteriors of significant historic buildings. All projects must result in the stabilization, preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or in-kind reconstruction of the building's exterior skin.

  • Eligible exterior work items include:
    • Exterior Wall Repairs
    • Roof Repairs/Replacement
    • Window and Door Rehabilitation and Weatherization Improvements
    • Structural Reinforcement
    • Exterior Woodwork
    • Masonry/Stucco Repairs
    • Porch and Step Repairs
    • Cornices and Parapet Repairs
    • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Alterations
    • Storefront Restoration
    • Foundation Repairs
    • Historic Outbuilding Rehabilitation
    • Reversal of Previous Inappropriate Alterations
    • Demolition of Non-Historic Additions
    • Reconstruction of Original Architectural Porch and Step Repairs Elements Based on Historic Documentation or Physical Evidence
  • Qualified interior work and architectural and engineering costs.
    These costs are eligible for funding provided they amount to no more than 35 percent of the project's total eligible costs:
    • Qualified Interior Work includes structural work necessary to stabilize or protect the building's historic exteriors provided that a licensed structural engineer provides written documentation that these improvements are needed to prevent physical damage to the building. The program can also fund restoration of unique, character-defining interior historic features provided there is public access to the inside. The HPO determines which interior items are eligible for reimbursement. Interior work cannot exceed 25 percent of the project's total eligible costs.
    • Architectural and Engineering includes design work, special architectural and structural studies, and construction drawings and specifications related directly to eligible work items, provided that costs amount to no more than 10 percent of a total request. This does not include pre-agreement or construction administration costs. An owner cannot be reimbursed for architectural or engineering services provided by the applicant or an immediate family member. All eligible architectural and engineering services must be performed by appropriate licensed professionals.
  • Ineligible Expenses. This program does not fund acquisitions, landscaping, fencing, site improvements, or additions/new construction other than historic reconstruction work Painting is only eligible if directly related to another eligible work item. The HPO determines the eligibility of all proposed work items.

Application Procedures
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. All applicants are required to meet with HPO staff prior to submitting an application. All applicants are required to submit:

  • A complete city application form
  • A detailed scope of work and budget, including bids and time frames for all proposed work items.
  • Evidence of applicant's financial sufficiency and funding sources to complete project
  • Architectural plans or elevations, as needed, to depict rehabilitation work
  • Additional engineering, architectural and other studies needed to demonstrate that the project meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
  • Photos showing overall views of the property, and detail views where work is to be performed.

All complete applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis by the HPO. The project must meet the city's Historic Preservation Design Guidelines (PDF) and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The city will evaluate and score applications using the Project Selection Criteria and forward evaluations to the Historic Preservation Commission for a recommendation. The City Council provides final approval for all applications.

Additional Funding Conditions
Please note that the following additional funding conditions apply:

  • The applicant must provide evidence that sufficient funds are available to complete the project at time of project application, including financial commitments from investors and lending institutions, and a description of the proposed financing. The applicant must notify the city if funding circumstances change after application for the demonstration funds is made.
  • The applicant must agree to execute required legal agreements, including a program agreement and conservation easement, with the city as a condition of funding. Also, prior to entering into a program agreement, the city requires all lien holders on the property to sign consent agreements.
  • The city will only accept applications which propose funding for future work items. No retroactive funding will be considered for work commenced prior to making application with the city.
  • The applicant must agree to execute a conservation easement as specified below based on the following levels of city participation: $50,000 or less, 20 years; $50,001 to $100,000, 25 years; $100,001 to $400,000, 30 years; $400,001 and above, 40 years.
  • The applicant must sign all required agreements with the city within six (6) months after receiving City Council approval for a project and initiate work within six (6) months after executing agreements, or risk losing the funding.
  • Owners are required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of No Effect from the HPO prior to finalizing legal agreements. City building permits may also be needed prior to initiating work.
  • No construction activity on work items approved for funding may occur until City Council approval is obtained and all required city agreements are fully executed.
  • The city will only provide funding for completed project work. To receive payment, the HPO must first certify that the work was completed as agreed and that it meets required historic preservation standards.
  • Applicants need to complete all approved work in at least 24 months once work has started, or risk losing the funding. Applicants can request a one-time six (6) month extension from the HPO in writing using a form provided by the city. Additional time extensions may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Properties must be listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register prior to city reimbursement of funding for any grant-funded work items.
  • The city may hold back up to 10 percent of the total amount awarded until all work items in the Program Agreement are completed, or until the project receives a Certificate of Occupancy/Completion.

For more information, contact the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, 200 W. Washington St., 3rd Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003, or call 602-261-8699.