NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new tax abatement program in Nashville is awarding its first round of recipients.

The program, led by the Metropolitan Historical Commission, is working to give developers and owners temporary relief in exchange for the long-term preservation of historic buildings.

“The authenticity of Nashville is important to our economics,” said Robin Zeigler, the commission’s historic zoning administrator. “Studies have shown that rehab creates more jobs, keeps more money local, heritage tours stay longer and spend more money, it’s an avenue towards keeping affordable housing, so there’s lots of reasons that preservations a valuable planning tool for our future.”

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An estimated $12 million in relief will help restore the Rhea Building on 2nd Avenue, which was damaged in the 2020 Christmas Day bombing.

“The 12 million on the Rhea Building is going to be used just for masonry repair,” said Zeigler. “Anyone who drives by can see the very top, there’s some very serious damage.”

The second project receiving $1.4 million in relief is the James Geddes Engine Company No. 6 on President Ronald Reagan Way.

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Once the associated rehabilitation projects are complete and the values are reassessed, the value of the abatement will be deducted from the improved value for ten years.

The Metropolitan Historical Commission said in a statement, “much-needed incentive program facilitates long-term investment in the city and its historic fabric.”

Historic building owners and developers are encouraged to apply for the next round of the program by July 1, 2023; however, applications for 2nd Avenue buildings are reviewed on a monthly basis.