Yet another neighboring state is now poised to attract private investment and development projects away from New Jersey. On July 2, Pennsylvania became the 30th state in the U.S., and

Bloomfield Junior High School- a prime candidate for rehabilitation

the last of those immediately surrounding New Jersey,  to offer a state-level historic preservation tax credit when Governor Tom Corbett signed the Historic Preservation Incentive Act. Pennsylvania’s 25% credit is different than New Jersey’s proposed Historic Property Reinvestment Act in that it does not include residential properties, but instead more closely mirrors the federal historic tax credit by applying to income-producing properties only. Legislators and advocates hope to eventually expand that, as well as the current caps of $3 million in credit available statewide, and $500,000 in credits per project. But after 16 years of education and lobbying, advocates are thrilled to see this new realm of opportunities for historic properties become a reality.

Waiting for a savior: An NJ tax credit could finally make rehabilitation of the landmark Keystone Watch Case Factory in Riverside feasible

Particularly now that all of our neighboring states (Pennsylvania, New YorkConnecticut, Delaware, and Maryland) offer some form of state-level historic preservation tax credit, New Jersey’s historic resources are at a severe disadvantage. Developers interested in investing in properties and initiating projects are now able to look to every state in our vicinity and find a potentially game-changing financial incentive to take their investment there instead of bringing it to New Jersey. In an economy wherein, more so than ever before, the bottom line is the “make it or break it” factor in development project planning, New Jersey is not on a level playing field. Landmarks such as the elaborate Keystone/Philadelphia Watch Case Factory building in Riverside, Bloomfield’s striking Art Moderne Junior High School, or the diverse housing and commercial building stock of the Bridgeton Historic District, cannot wait forever for that field to be leveled.

Check out Preservation New Jersey’s “Take Action” page on the Historic Property Reinvestment Act for a basic summary, talking points, and further information on the case studies above. Call your NJ legislators and urge their co-sponsorship and support of this means of opening up an entirely new realm of incentives for private investment in New Jersey. Check with Preservation Pennsylvania for the latest updates on their model- New Jersey’s historic resources don’t have to lose out!


The Historic Property Reinvestment Act (HPRA) was introduced in the 2012-2013 NJ legislature on January 10. While the bill appears to have been reintroduced somewhat routinely (as  bills that did not pass during the previous legislature commonly are), it has begun making its way through committees again.

The Senate State Government, Wagering Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee passed the bill, now S141/A1450,  on March 5. Senate prime sponsor Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) spoke passionately about the importance of preserving heritage and unique and historic places as the committee began consideration of the legislation.  Walter Gallas, Director of the Philadelphia Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Chris Sturm, Senior Director of State Policy with NJ Future; and Stephanie Cherry-Farmer, Senior Programs Director for Preservation NJ, detailed the proposed incentive’s job creation and fiscal impacts.

The Senate version now moves to consideration by the Senate Budget Committee, although there is no definitive timeline for this. The Assembly version of the bill awaits an initial hearing in the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

While currently, PNJ has no indication that the administration has changed their views on this, we continue to seek additional information- we’ll also continue to keep you posted!

Stating that it was part of politics in Trenton as usual, the governor vetoed the just-passed historic tax credit bill today.  More information, including we hope a stated reason for its veto, as details become available.

With the New Jersey Assembly’s overwhelming affirmative vote yesterday in favor of the Historic Property Reinvestment Act (HPRA, A-1851), the long-sought historic rehabilitation tax credit bill is now firmly on Governor Christie’s desk awaiting his signature.  Four previous New Jersey Governors have been unable or unwilling to make New Jersey the 32nd state to provide a powerful incentive for homeowners and commercial property owners to invest in their historic buildings, and in their communities.  Now Gov. Christie can make history when he signs the bill, providing homeowners with badly needed tax relief, and finally attracting the hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial historic property redevelopment that have been consistently bypassing New Jersey.

New Jersey is being dramatically bypassed by major investors, who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars and creating thousands of both construction and permanent jobs in the surrounding states, all  of which offer the tax incentives similar to that proposed in HPRA.  In 2010, five nearby states – Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland – saw the completion of 113 major rehabilitation projects on historic commercial buildings worth $998 million in private investment.  Each of those states offer a historic tax credit.  New Jersey, which does not yet have similar tax relief in place, had just one completed historic rehab project, worth $4 million.  Our state, in the throes of economic crisis, net out-migration of people and jobs, and private investment at a virtual standstill, can no longer afford to watch hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment flow to all the states surrounding us while New Jersey languishes.

Gov. Christie has an unprecedented opportunity to enact this measure, which has been a proven generator of net state tax revenues, jobs and community revitalization in 31 states.  We encourage him to seize the moment and make history by signing HPRA.

BREAKING:   the New Jersey Senate voted 38 – 0 earlier today in favor of the Historic Property Revitalization Act (HPRA).  The historic rehabilitation tax credit bill, a legislative work in progress for more than a dozen years in New Jersey, requires a procedural vote in the state Assembly, which passed it late last year, and then will reach Gov. Chris Christie’s desk soon.

More information as it becomes available.

Help the NJ Heritage Development Coalition and Preservation New Jersey push the tax credit bill “over the top.”   Donate Now.

Today, the New Jersey Senate Budget Committee passed the historic rehabilitation tax credit bill, the Historic Property Reinvestment Act (HPRA) and sent it to the full Senate for a final vote.  Senate prime sponsor Sen. Barbara Buono (Metuchen) spoke passionately and at length about the importance of preserving heritage and unique and historic places as the Committee began consideration of the legislation.  Questions from committee members about the job creation and fiscal impacts of the proposed financial incentive were fielded by speakers Hon, Mary-Anna Holden, Mayor of Madison, NJ and Preservation New Jersey President; Walter Gallas, Northeast Field Office Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Trenton real estate developer David Henderson of HHG Development; and PNJ Executive Director Ron Emrich.

The 9 – 1 affirmative vote came with support from members of both parties.  The final hurdle for HPRA is a full Senate vote, probably in mid-January, plus a pro forma correcting vote in the Assembly.  The signature of Gov. Chris Christie would enact the long-awaited bill.

Moments ago the Senate Committee on State Government, Tourism, Gaming & Historic Preservation passed the historic tax credit bill, S659.  It now moves to consideration by the Senate Budget Committee, which we hope will occur soon – perhaps as soon as next week.  Our thanks to prime sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Barbara Buono, for her leadership in moving the bill ahead.

Please call your Senators to indicate your support for HPRA.