An incentive for owners of historic buildings, this City of Columbia program may enable you to keep your building's current assessed value at the same rate for 20 years. The property owner is required to make an investment of 20% of qualified expenses to qualify for the abatement. Richland County also offers its own Bailey Bill which generally mirrors the City's program. For more information, go to their website.
The Bailey Bill was passed by the state legislature in 1992 to give local governments the option of granting property tax abatement to encourage the rehabilitation of historic properties. Following amended state legislation in 2004, Columbia's City Council also adopted a local amended version of the bill in July of 2007.
The Façade Improvement Program is only available to targeted corridors within the City limits of Columbia. These corridors are determined annually based upon Neighborhood Redevelopment Service Areas assigned by the City’s Department of Community Development. This highly successful OBO program offers commercial property and/or business owner (tenants) forgivable, matching loans, amortized over a set number of years, as long as the property remains in compliance with the program agreement for maintenance and ownership. Loans are an 80/20 match, with the City paying 80% and the applicant paying 20%, of the total project cost. The maximum loan funding structure is set each program year based on the priority needs of each commercial district. Historically, the program has provided maximum awards of up to $15,000/per tax map parcel for façade improvements, depending on the needs in the target area and funds available. The program has also typically offered grants to property owners in target areas when project costs are less than $2,000, and monitored these grants for a period of one year.
Eligible exterior facade improvements are generally: replacement/repair/ or new windows, doors, paint, lighting, signage, fencing, masonry, carpentry, awnings, tree plantings, security camera installation, and/or iron bar or redundant metal pole removal and disposal.
For assistance with the Facade Improvement Loan Program please contact the Office of Business Opportunities at 803.545.3950.
Located in Columbia, the SHPO has a number of free educational resources available to historic property owners, and they also have certain tax credit programs available for qualifying renovations. They have all of the state's listings in the National Register of Historic Places, many of them with full-length nomination forms and photographs, which can be valuable tools for researching your community. The SHPO is housed in the same building as the S.C. Department of Archives and History, which maintains thousands of our state's historic documents.
In June 2013, the South Carolina State Legislature approved the Abandoned Buildings Act (ABA) in an effort to encourage the revitalization of abandoned buildings throughout the state. The ABA provides a tax credit to individuals who rehabilitate, renovate, and/or redevelop building sites.
The ABA offers two tax credit options:
1) A credit against income taxes, corporate, license fees or taxes on associations; or
2) A credit against real property taxes levied by local taxing entities.
The City of Columbia is only involved in the review and approval process when a taxpayer is seeking the credit against real property taxes. To qualify, a taxpayer must file a "Notice of Intent to Rehabilitate" with the City of Columbia Planning Division along with a completed application and signed affidavit. Planning staff will facilitate the review process. For more information about the Abandoned Buildings Act and how to apply for the tax credit, please contact Amy Moore at 803-545-3335 or [email protected].