My 2 cents: In San Francisco we do it a different way. We simply designate it a city landmark. Under that status, it can’t be torn down or altered in any archetecturally significant way, but the owners can get substantial tax breaks for re-using the structure without significant alteration. It may cost the city a few bucks in taxes, but the money comes back many fold in taxes on what tourists spend coming here to see, among other things, the "quaint" architecture.
The well-known Castro where movies are still shown nightly and the "Mighty Wurlitzer" still gets played regularly (I saw Eisenstein’s "Battleship Potemkin" there to its accompaniment).