In the mid – 1970’s the Conservancy took on the enormous task of determining the future of the vacant Federal Archive Building in Greenwich Village. At the request of the U.S. General Services Administration, the Conservancy directed the project: conducting a feasibility study, consulting with federal, State and city agencies and the local community board; exploring legal and economic issue; soliciting and reviewing redevelopment proposals; and selecting a developer. The Federal Archive Building was then leased for residential and commercial conversion to a group co-sponsored by the conservancy.
The Conservancy came up with a unique and innovative proposal for meeting the requirements of the law that stated revenues were to be used for public preservation purposes. The Conservancy’s proposal was to establish a revolving loan fund for historic preservation. This required the developer of the building to capitalize the fund by making contributions totaling over $6 million dollars which would be administered by the Conservancy and the City of New York. This boost in financing marked the beginning of the Conservancy’s Historic Properties fund.