New loan program aims to save heritage Tacoma buildings

The City of Tacoma is promoting a new loan program that aims to encourage property owners to rehabilitate, preserve, and adaptively re-use their historic commercial and retail properties.

“Tacoma’s historic properties give our community character and provide a lot of appeal,” said City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight. “We want them occupied, looking good, and open for business.”

Individuals with properties listed on the City of Tacoma Register of Historic Places who are approved and meet underwriting criteria can use the Historic Rehabilitation and Repair Loan Program to make envelope improvements, building systems and restoration, or repair of exterior historic elements, so long as the projects meet historic preservation guidelines. Interest rates are based on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note, plus one-percent. The loans, which can paid back over 10 years, will range from $20,000 to $100,000 and provide up to 50 percent in gap financing in combination with the borrower’s other financial resources.

McKnight noted the program protects the public’s investment by placing a temporary lien on the property that’s removed once the load is repaid. Exclusively residential properties, additions and routine maintenance are excluded from the program. “This tool will provide a non-conventional option which can make the difference in tipping the scale towards investment,” added McKnight.

For more details or an application, contact Jacinda Howard, in the City of Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department, at (253) 591-5221 or