Historic buildings throughout Ohio may fall prey to wrecking balls thanks to an amendment that was added to the budget in the Senate. The intent of this amendment is to halt historic preservation tax credits for revitalizing these buildings.
The amendment in question has united people in construction, the arts and people who love history in an effort to oppose it. Revitalized historic buildings add charm to a neighborhood, attracting people of all ages. In turn, this raises property values and increases the tax base. Many from both sides of the aisle see this tax credit as a win/win and the move to strip it is leaving many people scratching their heads.
This was not included in the House’s version of the budget. It is unclear who is pushing the amendment. It is clear that the public has sprung into action to oppose it. An online petition that was started late last week already has over 1400 signatures.
An article in the Columbus Dispatch highlights the concerns of developers and investors who currently utilize the tax credits to repurpose buildings and in many cases give new life to neighborhoods.
The loss of the roughly $2.5 million in tax credits awarded the prominent Atlas Building project Downtown could potentially put the project in foreclosure, said Scott Pickett, president of the Pickett Cos., a partner in redeveloping the 12-story building at N. High and Long streets.
The $24 million project is about three weeks from completion. Pickett then will submit his certificate for the credits, but wouldn’t expect to receive them for 90 days.
He said he is using the credits as collateral for a bank loan to help finance construction, which includes 98 apartments and 6,500-square-feet of retail space. If the bank no longer has the collateral, he fears it would call in the note.
“People have taken vacant, dilapidated blighted areas Downtown and taken state tax credits to rejuvenate the urban core,” Pickett said.
Utilizing existing buildings is a great way to motivate people to return to an area that had previously been abandoned. Memories make people return to an area they may have long forgot. Given the added cost for maintaining history, it is probable that these buildings would be left to crumble or would be torn down to make way for modern buildings.