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Credit: M. Edlow  for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Small Businesses

Glossary Of Terms
Programs & Services

Philadelphia Storefront Improvement Program

This program reimburses owners of commercial buildings and businesses within designated commercial corridors who make storefront improvements.

Philadelphia Department of Commerce

In addition to the Storefront Improvement Program, the City of Philadelphia's Department of Commerce manages a series of other economic development programs, including business training, small business loans, and grants for security camera installation.

Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit

Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credits (RITC) are the most widely used historic preservation incentive program. Certain expenses incurred in connection with rehabilitating an old building are eligible for a tax credit. RITCs are available to owners and certain long term leases of income-producing properties. There are two rates - 20% for a historic building and 10% for a non-historic building, with different qualifying criteria for each rate. To find out if a property is listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, contact the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Incentive Tax Credit Program

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has released program guidelines, application forms and application submission dates for the new Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.

Philadelphia Register Map

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DISCLAIMER: Please note that the Philadelphia Register is updated regularly, and mapping errors are periodically discovered, therefore the online Register can never be entirely accurate. It is provided online as a courtesy, but is not the official Register. For the latest information on the Register, please call the Historical Commission at 215-686-7660

Guides & Manuals

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties are nationwide preservation standards intended to be applied to a wide variety of resource types, including buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts (Storefront recommendations begin on page 51).

Preservation Brief 11: Rehabilitating Historic Storefronts

The storefront is the most important architectural feature of many historic commercial buildings. It also plays a crucial role in a store's advertising and merchandising strategy to draw customers and increase business. Not surprisingly, then, the storefront has become the feature most commonly altered in a historic commercial building. In the process, these alterations may have completely changed or destroyed a building's distinguishing architectural features that make up its historic character.

Preservation Brief 25: The Preservation of Historic Signs

"Signs" refers to a great number of verbal, symbolic or figural markers. Posters, billboards, graffiti and traffic signals, corporate logos, flags, decals and bumper stickers, insignia on baseball caps and tee shirts: all of these are "signs." Buildings themselves can be signs, as structures shaped like hot dogs, coffee pots or Chippendale highboys attest. The signs encountered each day are seemingly countless, for language itself is largely symbolic. This Brief, however, will limit its discussion of "signs" to lettered or symbolic messages affixed to historic buildings or associated with them.

Preservation Brief 32: Making Historic Properties Accessible

This Preservation Brief introduces the complex issue of providing accessibility at historic properties, and underscores the need to balance accessibility and historic preservation.

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