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Honoring Preservation Efforts With the ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation

Photo featuring two sides of a three-story brick building with shrubbery along the front.

Historic preservation efforts restore or rehabilitate buildings that have architectural and cultural significance. When these efforts include expanding affordable housing or promoting economic development, they also help support HUD’s mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. To recognize projects that advance the ideals of historic preservation while delivering affordable housing or economic opportunities to low- and moderate-income households, HUD has partnered with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to offer the ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. HUD and ACHP have issued a call for nominations for the 2017 award that extends through March 27, 2017.

The ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation is the only national award of its kind. HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) and the Office of Environment and Energy have long worked in concert on the award, which was previously offered in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (National Trust). HUD’s new partner in presenting this award, ACHP, is an independent federal agency headquartered in Washington, D.C., that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation’s historic resources and advises the president and Congress on national historic preservation policy. ACHP was established in 1966 through the National Historic Preservation Act and is the only entity with the legal responsibility to encourage federal agencies to factor historic preservation into federal project requirements.

Requirements and Recognition

To be eligible for the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, nominated projects must have been completed or have made substantial achievements within the past three years and are required to meet the preservation guidelines of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. A jury of HUD and ACHP representatives and preservation professionals will judge the nominated projects or activities on their success in rehabilitating, restoring, and preserving historic properties as well as their accomplishments in expanding economic opportunities or providing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. The jury will give preference to efforts that adaptively reuse historic structures, contribute to local community revitalization efforts, and include HUD funding or financing. The jury will also evaluate the quality and difficulty of nominated projects or activities and the income range of those benefiting from these efforts. In addition, the jury will consider whether efforts are innovative, whether projects have undergone a Section 106 review, and how the activities or efforts have affected the larger community.

The winner of the 2017 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation will be notified no later than June 1, 2017, and will be honored in a special ceremony related to ACHP’s business meeting in July 2017. The award winner will also be featured on the HUD Secretary’s Awards webpages and may be profiled in PD&R’s Case Studies series, which has highlighted several previous award recipients.

For example, Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota, received the 2013 National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation for preserving and revitalizing the historic Cedar Square West Development, which was part of HUD’s New Communities Program in the late 1960s and 1970s. In 2010, Cedar Square West was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and became eligible for state and federal historic tax credits that closed financing gaps and made major renovation possible. As part of the renovation, Sherman Associates rehabilitated 1,303 housing units, 90 percent of which were designated as affordable for households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.

In 2012, HUD and the National Trust recognized Saint Luke's Manor in Cleveland, Ohio, with the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. Built in 1927 as a hospital, St Luke’s Manor closed in 1999 and sat unoccupied for 12 years. With financial assistance that included federal low-income housing tax credits and state and federal historic preservation tax credits, Pennrose Properties, LLC, rehabilitated and adaptively reused Saint Luke’s Manor to provide 137 units of low-income rental housing for seniors and space for an award-winning charter school and a multigenerational wellness and education center.

Minvilla Manor in Knoxville, Tennessee, was honored with the 2011 National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation for addressing the housing needs of chronically homeless individuals while rehabilitating historic townhomes that had been converted into a motel in the 1960s. The city condemned the motel in 2002 but placed an historic overlay on the property amid concerns from the historic preservation community that the buildings would be demolished. Using historic and low-income housing tax credits, Volunteer Ministry Center restored the original façade of Minvilla Manor and redesigned and rehabilitated the interior space in the motel’s two buildings to offer 57 units of housing for chronically homeless persons as well as supportive services.

Submit a Nomination

Nominations for the 2017 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation must be completed in Microsoft Word and submitted electronically by 11:59 pm PDT on March 27, 2017. Submissions must include a narrative of 8,000 or fewer characters that includes an overview of the nominated project and its historical significance, a summary of the project’s challenges and any unique strategies used to overcome those challenges, and a brief statement about the budget. Nominations should also include up to five supporting brochures or news articles, up to three letters of recommendation, and a list of any past awards the project has received. A complete list of requirements and procedures can be found on the submissions page. The award announcement provides more information about the 2017 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

Learn More

For additional information and photos related to previous recipients of the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, please visit the award archive. The Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation is one of five Secretary’s Awards currently offered. For more information on the other Secretary’s Awards, please read “Highlighting Best Practices Through the HUD Secretary’s Awards,” in The Edge.