When considering a purchase of a Historic Property for commercial uses one of the first people that you should call should be a Building Inspector. Why?
- You want to be sure that your intended purpose for the building is permissible. If you intend to lease your space to a retail tenant you will still need to be sure that there are no code violations that would proibit your tenant from conducting business.
- Zoning Permits – If a building has been used in the past as retail and the intended future use is retail you must still cooridinate with the Zoning Division of your town. Historic districts have strict guidelines as to which business may locate within them. Even a change in retail business must be reviewed.
A wise decision would be to seek out the Historic Preservation Committee or Advisory Group in your area to obtain specific guidelines before starting your new business. Also check with your SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) as well as your City or Town Planning Board – any of which should be able to point you in the right direction.
Owning historic property, whether residential or commercial, takes quite a bit of homework, approvals for use, and reviews. Be smart – do your homework before you take the leap!
If you have any questions or comments about owning historic properties please feel free to email or call – I will be delighted to help!