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
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.
Particularly now that all of our neighboring states (Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, 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!