Federal Historic Tax Credit, praised for making local rehab projects possible, in jeopardy

Oct 24, 2017

The Federal Historic Tax Credit, which local economic development and preservation leaders say has made dozens of local projects possible, may be eliminated under the tax reform proposal put forth by the Trump Administration. Supporters of the tax credit, including one local congressman, say it's important to keep it alive.


Through the Federal Historic Tax Credit, building projects on sites deemed historic by the Interior Department are eligible for a 20 percent credit. In the Buffalo-Niagara region, nearly 70 projects over the past five years have utilized this credit, as well as New York State's version.

Rehabilitating the former Hotel Niagara in Niagara Falls, as well as other buildings including Buffalo's Central Terminal and the Northland Corridor project, could be in jeopardy without the Federal Historic Tax Credit, say Congressman Brian Higgins and others who fear the credit will be eliminated under tax reform under consideration in Washington.
Credit WBFO file photo

 

Concerns are being raised that upcoming projects, including the Central Terminal and Hotel Niagara, may be in jeopardy. The federal tax credit stands to be eliminated under the tax reform proposal now under consideration in Washington.

"They could help with the redevelopment of the Terminal A and B buildings on the Outer Harbor," said Congressman Brian Higgins, who united with local economic development, architecture and preservation representatives Monday to call for continuation of the tax credit.

Another key project that could be jeopardized, according to Preservation Buffalo Niagara executive director Jessie Fisher, is the Northland Corridor project in Buffalo.

"The city and state are transforming this historic factory complex into state-of-the-art job training and advanced manufacturing facilities, really located in the heart of Buffalo's East Side," Fisher said. "This has the potential to bring thousands of jobs and opportunities to an area that really needs it."

Fisher says the tax credit is not a subsidy, as some believe it to be. She tells WBFO that for every one dollar provided in a tax credit, one dollar and 25 cents is returned to the federal treasury. While rehabilitation projects are more expensive than building anew, Fisher argues that restoring older buildings for new uses keeps more money in the local economy.

Fisher says the tax credit is not a subsidy, as some believe it to be. She tells WBFO that for every one dollar provided in a tax credit, one dollar and 25 cents is returned to the federal treasury. While rehabilitation projects are more expensive than building anew, Fisher argues that restoring older buildings for new uses keeps more money in the local economy.

Supporters of preserving the Federal Historic Tax Credit say that over the past five years, it has fueled more than $468 million in investments.