Owning a historic building, whether it’s your home, your business or an investment property, requires care and commitment. There are a variety and resources, tools and incentives designed to make caring for your property a little easier.
For Property Owners
1931 Henderson Street
A handsome two-story residence, 1931 Henderson Street is situated on a block historically known for its prominent African American residents. Purchased in 1909 by William Joseph Sumter, the structure was recently restored to highlight its unique features by owners John and Victoria Dozier, who are the family’s sixth generation to occupy the home. This property is a recipient of Historic Columbia’s 2017 Preservation/Restoration Award.
Through easements, we partner with property owners who transfer partial interest in their real estate to ensure its future. To qualify for an easement, the property needs to be formally designated as an historic asset on the local, state or national level.
- More on Easements
By entering into this partnership, owners give up certain development rights in exchange for financial benefits while agreeing to abide by certain rules that maintain the property’s historic integrity. Easements are one of the most powerful and popular tools for preservation as they are a perpetual, legal agreement between Historic Columbia and the property’s current and future owners.
Easements and historic designation are not the same thing. Easements are an additional tool that owners can use to protect their historic property. Easements are not automatic. They are donated voluntarily by the owner and are established on a case-by-case basis.
- Easement Portfolio
We currently maintain 14 easements through our Historic Easement Program. As part of this program, our staff conducts annual property inspections and — should the owners decide to perform exterior improvements — passes judgment on exterior design and renovation decisions.
These legal agreements have helped maintain the historic integrity of and promote the rehabilitation of the following properties:
- Arcade Mall, 1332 Main Street/1216 Washington Stree
- Columbia Mills Building, 301 Gervais Street/514 Williams Street
- Efird’s Building, 1601 Main Street
- First National Bank, 1208 Washington Street
- “Main Street Trio,” Habenicht-Seegars Buildings, 1631-1637 Main Street
- "Main Street Duo," 1639-1645 Main Street
- J.C. Penny/Maxwell Furniture Building, 1634 Main Street
- Kress Building, 1508 Main Street
- Manson/Berry’s Building, 1600-1606 Main Street
- Owen Building, 1321 Lady Street
- Powell Furniture Store 1519 Sumter Street & Rose Talbert Western Auto Store 1222-1224 Taylor Street
- Robinson Building, 1621 Main Street
- Whaley’s Mill, 211 Main Street
- W.B. Smith Whaley House/Dunbar Funeral Home 1527 Gervais Street
If your property carries an official historic designation, it may be eligible for the preservation tax credit. This potential savings empowers owners committed to restoring or rehabilitating their historic home or business. Learn more about state and federal tax credits and other funding sources.
- Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits (HRTC)
Official designation as an historic resource may entitle your property to tax credits designed to reduce restoration and rehabilitation costs. Owners of commercial properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places may receive a 20% tax credit. Learn more about Federal tax credits.
- Local Incentives
Owners of residential properties listed either individually or as a contributing property within an official local historic district may receive tax reductions through the Bailey Bill, a South Carolina law which freezes the tax base of an historic property at its pre-rehabilitated/pre-restored condition for 20 years. Learn more on the Bailey Bill, Facade Loan Program and other local incentives.
- Other Funding Sources
The National Trust for Historic Preservation offers other funding sources for preservation projects. Learn more on historic tax incentives.
Historic Columbia Fee for Services
We frequently assist individuals and businesses in a wide range of preservation-related needs, including conducting research on historic properties, drafting National Register of Historic Places submissions and making public presentations.
- Building History
Interested in determining if your building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or Local Landmark Designation? Are you curious about how your home or business changed over time, or about folks who may have lived or worked there?
We conduct thorough research on residential or commercial properties. We use a combination of in-house tools and other local resources including the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, city directories, newspapers and the buildings themselves. Final research products from such research may include maps, images and property ownership and occupancy information as well as property evolution.
- City Landmark Application
A City Landmark designation can make a building eligible for protections or incentives, such as tax credits or the Bailey Bill. Documenting the history of a building and any changes over time is key to determining this status.
- National Register Application: Individual Site or District
The National Register of Historic Places is one of the highest distinctions a building can receive. There are more than 440 properties in Richland County listed in the National Register. Whether it is an example of high-style architecture or a site where an important event took place, listing in the National Register is an honorary designation; however, it does make a property eligible for tax incentives if rehabilitation is planned for the site. A nomination to the National Register requires extensive research into a building's history as well as a detailed architectural description. Photographs are required for this multi-phased nomination process as well. Nominations are reviewed at the state level on a quarterly basis. In addition to completing the nomination forms, Historic Columbia can prepare and present the nomination to the review committee.
- Fee for Services
Our preservation workshops showcase hands-on methods and philosophies behind a variety of preservation practices. These educational programs provide homeowners and interested DIYers technical insight into the restoration of such building elements as historic windows and plaster, and they also often dig into the history of those building elements and techniques in ways that help teach attendees more about the history of their own homes. Learn More
Historic Designation Frequently Asked Questions
Is your property listed as a local landmark or is it located in an historic district? If so, this Historic Designation FAQ Guide will answer many of your questions. You may also visit the City of Columbia's Planning Department website here for lists of Design Districts and Historic Districts within South Carolina's capital city. Learn More