Join the Heritage Register

Historic photo of Downtown Olympia. 4th Avenue and Capital

Olympia's Heritage Register

In effect since 1983, Olympia's historic listings showcases and protects over 600 buildings and 6 districts around the city. Applications to designate a building, site, object, or district on the Register are accepted year round. There is no cost to apply.

How to Apply

  1. Before you begin the application process, read through the Heritage Register Checklist.
  2. Research your Property, if needed. Refer to the City's guidance of Researching Historic Properties for help.
  3. Complete an online application using the City's Permit Portal
  4. Meet with Historic Preservation Officer for an initial tour of the property.
  5. Hold a public meeting with the Heritage Commission at the property for initial review.
  6. Take part in a formal public hearing at a regularly-scheduled meeting of the Heritage Commission.

Benefits of Being on the Register

In addition to the pride of living or working in a piece of Olympia history, owners of properties listed individually or in a historic district have access to these benefits:

  • Bronze markers for buildings listed individually
  • Building code relaxation
  • Free advice and educational program
  • Tax incentives

Tax Incentive Information

Historic properties that are registered individually or are within historic districts may qualify for property tax relief for significant improvements that meet historic preservation standards. The intent of the program is to take away the disincentive of increased property taxes created when an owner substantially improves a property.

Under the Special Tax Valuation program, if a property owner incurs qualified rehabilitation costs that equal at least 25% of the historic building’s assessed value within a 24-month period prior to application, those qualified costs can be subtracted from the newly assessed value of the property for 10 years.

The Special Tax Valuation Program is established by the state, and additional program information is available from the State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). The program is jointly administered at the local level by the City of Olympia and Thurston County.

Rehabilitation of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places may also qualify for income tax relief under the Federal Historic Tax Credit program. This program is managed by the State of Washington’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

Questions?

Contact Historic Preservation Officer, Marygrace Goddu, at 360.753.8031 or mgoddu@ci.olympia.wa.us