For Building Owners

Historic Building Investment Toolbox

Whether you are new to historic building renovation or a professional rehabber, the toolkit is a useful resource. Many historic buildings need extensive renovation. It is good to know, in advance, what is involved in order to be realistic about cost and time. Often beautiful, quality, historic features are overlooked or covered. Maybe there is original, old-growth hardwood floor beneath the linoleum. Maybe there is tin ceiling above the dropped ceiling. This guide suggests methods for uncovering the good and bad. Once you do repairs, your building can once again be a wonderful, useful space.

Downtown Development Investment Fund Grants for Building Renovations

The Downtown Development Investment Fund (DDIF) is here to help our building and business owners. There are four Renovation Grants available: Façade, Upper Story Residential, Roof Stabilization and Lower Story Retail. A few things to note about our Renovation Grants:

-Renovation grants will have a limited combined payout of $18,000 per building, per year.

-Once you have submitted a grant, your application will be reviewed the following month. No matter if you submit it at the beginning, middle, or end of the month, it will not be reviewed until the following month.

-The submission period for our grants is January 1st through September 30th. This submission period will go into effect on January 1st, 2023.

For more information on each grant, click on the links below.

DDIF Façade Grant Guidelines and Application

Façade grants provide financial incentive to historic downtown Winchester merchants and property owners to improve their buildings while retaining the historic character of the district.

DDIF Upper Story Residential Grant Guidelines and Application

The redevelopment of market rate, upper story residential units is crucial to maintaining an economically strong commercial district where the image, appearance and environment encourage the attraction of residents and shoppers. Beginning 2/29/20, work completed before grant approval will no longer be eligible for Upper Story Residential Grants.

DDIF Roof Stabilization Grant Guidelines and Application

The Roof Stabilization Grant Program  facilitates roof replacement and roof rehabilitation by property owners to combat roof problems that endanger the general health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants and visitors to downtown.

DDIF Lower Story Retail Renovation Grant Guidelines and Application

The purpose of the Historic District Lower Story Retail Renovation Grant is to provide a financial incentive to historic downtown Winchester property-owners, to improve their buildings while retaining the historic character of the district.

Design Committee Recommended Exterior Color Palette

Winchester First’s Design Committee recommended exterior color palette: Color Journey’s Color Direction by Pratt & Lambert.  Paints available at D&S Hardware, or color-match at your preferred paint supplier.

Thinking about buying a downtown building?

Things you should know before you buy, complete with links to organizations you need to now:

  • The heart of downtown Winchester is within a Historic District Overlay (HDO) and all changes to the exterior of buildings within the HDO district are governed by the Historic Preservation Commission. The commission’s goal is to manage change over time to protect the authentic character of downtown. This helps to protect your property value, but may also limit what you can do to the exterior of your property (similar to a Homeowners’ Association). Find out if your property is within the Historic District Overlay and learn more about the Historic Preservation Commission.
    Historic District Overlay (HDO) Map
  • If you plan to change the use of the building, you MAY be required by the state to bring the building up to Kentucky State Building Codes. For example, if your building is currently used for retail, but you plan to have a restaurant in the space – that is a “change of use.” Check with the department of Building Inspection.
  • Additionally, if you plan to change the use of the building you MAY need a conditional use permit from the Board of Adjustments. Check with the department of Planning and Community Development before you sign on the dotted line.
  • If the building you plan to purchase is 50+ year old, you may be eligible for Federal and/or Kentucky Historic Tax Credits to help cover the cost of renovation or rehabilitation of the structure.