Benefits of National Historic District Designation
Owning a property located within a district listed in the State and National Register of Historic Places does not place any additional restrictions on what a property owner can do with their land or buildings. Owners remain free to use, alter, improve, and even demolish buildings with no additional approvals or oversight. The historic district designation in Sandston does not change any zoning requirements, nor does it force anyone to make any changes or improvements to their property. Only when a property owner is taking advantage of federal or state tax credits, or using federal grant funds for improvements, do building modifications have to be approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Historic Tax Credits for Property Owners
Property Owners in the Sandston Historic District are eligible for substantial financial incentives when rehabilitating buildings. Property Owners are eligible for a 25% state income tax credit for qualifying rehabilitation. Owners of income producing property, either commercial or residential, are also eligible for a 20% federal income tax credit. When combining both credits, a property owner can potentially recoup 45% of the building rehabilitation costs. Nationwide, this program has enabled the renovation of thousands of commercial and residential buildings and supported the revitalization of neighborhoods throughout the country.
In order to qualify for either of the tax credit programs, the building must be considered “contributing” to the district. For Sandston this generally means buildings built before 1966. Properties with contributing buildings are shown in blue on the interactive map. The work undertaken must also retain or restore the historic character and elements of the building as approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Both the State and federal tax credit programs are administered by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). DHR has staff who can help you through the process of applying for credits and discuss both the financial and construction requirements needed to succeed. They can also meet with you informally to discuss your project. More information about tax credits including specific staff contacts, application forms, questions and answers, and technical guidance can be found on their web site at www.dhr.virginia.gov/tax-credits. DHR can also be reached by phone at (804) 482-6097.
Other Assistance for Property Owners and Investors
- Enterprise Zone: Commercial properties along Williamsburg Road in Sandston are part of the County’s Enterprise Zone program, a designation that provides technical assistance and incentives for physical improvements to buildings, parking areas, and signage. Both Henrico County and the Commonwealth of Virginia provide grants for physical improvements to buildings in the Zone. These grants can also be combined with historic preservation tax credits. For more information contact the Henrico Department of Community Revitalization at (804) 501-7640 or visit https://henrico.us/revit/enterprise-zone/
- Real Estate Tax Exemption: Residential properties in Henrico may be eligible for a partial real estate tax exemption through the Reinvest: Residential Investment Tax Abatement Program. Qualifying homes must be at least 26 years old with a maximum assessed value of $300,000.
- Commercial properties in Henrico are also eligible for a partial real estate tax exemption through the Reinvest: Commercial Investment Tax Abatement Program. Qualifying commercial, industrial, or multi-family properties must be at least 26 years old.
- More information on both Reinvest programs can be obtained from the Henrico County Department of Finance – Real Estate Assessment Division at (804) 501-4300 or
https://henrico.us/services/reinvest-residential-investment-tax-abatement-program/. An application for the tax exemption must be submitted prior to the start of any rehabilitation work.
Property owners in Sandston are eligible to purchase plaques for contributing building to acknowledge listing on the Registers. They can be ordered from several companies. A standard building plaque for Sandston has not been developed. An organization or individual interested in coordinating such an effort can contact the Virginia Department of Historic Resources or the Henrico Department of Recreation and Parks for additional guidance.
Below are samples of plaques that has been used for other districts: