Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Allocations That Support Adaptive Reuse of Older and Historic Buildings Announced

April 4, 2024 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Today, the Biden administration announced awards for the $20 billion dollar Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). The National Trust for Historic Preservation, with our subsidiaries the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) and Main Street America (MSA), and our partners at Smart Growth America, led a successful campaign to ensure these funds could be used to support decarbonizing adaptive reuse in communities across America.

Several of our partners received funding allocations, including Appalachian Community Capital/Green Bank for Rural America, Climate United, the Coalition for Green Capital, and the Justice Climate Fund. GGRF will benefit a broad swath of communities across the nation in creating spaces for housing, small businesses, and civic uses, such as childcare centers, through green adaptive reuse projects. These funds aim to improve quality of life by reducing pollution while also enhancing the existing built environment.

Main Street America, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, serves on the steering committee for Appalachian Community Captial’s (ACC) new rural green bank. ACC was awarded $500 million to launch the Green Bank for Rural America in order to deliver capital and capacity building assistance to hundreds of community lenders working in coal, energy, underserved rural, and Tribal communities across the United States. Appalachian Community Capital is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a decade of experience working with community lenders in a rural context.

This funding will provide low cost and flexible debt for the adaptive reuse and retrofitting of older and historic buildings in rural communities. For example, NTCIC supported the financing of a $5.7 million sustainable rehabilitation of the historic National Guard Armory building located in an underserved community in Owosso, Michigan.

With GGRF funds soon available to finance these kinds of high impact and environmentally friendly projects, we anticipate an improved ability to rehabilitate older and historic buildings, especially in disinvested communities of color and rural communities.

Carol Quillen, president and CEO of the National Trust said, “In many, many rural communities across the country there are abandoned older and historic buildings that can be repurposed to reduce carbon emissions while also meeting the urgent need for new housing and local commercial space. We are delighted and grateful that the Green Bank for Rural America will soon be able to provide the low-cost capital required to bring these buildings back to life.”

Even with the availability of Federal Historic and New Markets Tax Credits, far too many developers find the costs of adaptive reuse projects prohibitive. Federal Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds promise to offer a valuable and much-needed source of low-cost capital for these projects – helping ensure we can preserve our past while creating new space for the future.

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