States, counties, municipalities, and other governmental entities are eligible to acquire a surplus property at no cost if the property is listed in, or eligible for listing in, the National Register of Historic Places. Custom houses, office buildings, and military buildings have all been transferred under this program.
Transferred properties may be used for a wide variety of public facilities or revenue-producing activities. Private and not-for-profit organizations cannot acquire property under this program, but they may enter into long-term leases with recipients of historic surplus properties. Private developers with a long-term lease may be eligible to take advantage of Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.
The National Park Service works with applicants who are acquiring historic properties, provides guidance to ensure that any work on the property meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and approves applicants' leases to other organizations.
The National Park Service also administers programs that transfer surplus historic lighthouses and surplus Federal land for park uses. All disposal of Federal real property is overseen by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Banner photograph courtesy of Stephanie Ferrell, FAIA
Last updated: October 8, 2018