Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland recently signed a $1.6 billion economic stimulus bill that, among other provisions, offers $120 million in tax credits for developers to preserve and renovate historic properties, most of which are in urban areas. A Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial declares “Ohio has done the right thing by strengthening a program that will enable hundreds of millions of dollars worth of historic buildings to be rehabbed, create jobs and return revenue to public coffers.”
Delayed while the legislature and Governor worked to revive the historic tax credit program, the project to adapt the historic East Ohio Gas Co. Building (Cleveland) for new uses should now move forward.
Earlier this spring, state budget crunchers had proposed a drastic reduction in the historic tax credit program, but leadership from State Reps. Jay Hottinger (Columbus) and Matt Dolan (Russell) and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher led to a strengthened program that will finance a backlog of at least 60 historic preservation projects across Ohio. As Rep. Hottinger relates in a recent news article, the state stands to “actually turn a profit on any project that is undertaken. Testimony given to the House Finance and Appropriations Committee showed that before any tax credit was paid out, taxes already have recovered 24 cents for every dollar of the tax credit that will be awarded.” By year nine, according to the legislator, “the state could see a profit from this tax credit.”
The New York Times this week covered the massive urban development project in Providence, RI undertaken by Streuver Bros. of Baltimore, using state and federal preservation tax credits: “Vowing to bring back a section of Providence that has been strewn with enormous vacant factories and piles of industrial debris for more than 30 years, a Baltimore developer is creating a $300 million mixed-use development on 18.5 acres on the Woonasquatucket River, about a mile from the city’s downtown.
Called the American Locomotive Company Works, or ALCO for short, after a factory that once produced trains there, the project is one of the largest in Providence’s recent history. Using a combination of historic rehabilitation and new construction, ALCO envisions as many as 500 condominium and rental units and nearly two million square feet of commercial and retail space.
Construction began in 2006. The project is being built in phases over several years by Struever Brothers, Eccles & Rouse, a development company founded in 1974 that is known mainly for projects that transform urban areas. … Phase One, completed in early 2007, rehabilitated five historic buildings on the east end of the site to create 200,000 square feet of retail and office space. Forty to 50 percent of that space has been leased to nine tenants, including the state’s economic development agency and a law firm…. The site went on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Struever then received state and federal historic tax credits for the rehabilitation.”