Preservation Buffalo Niagara’s Developer Roundtable Calls on Congressional Delegation to Save and Strengthen Federal Historic Tax Credit Program
March 30, 2017
Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) and its Developer Roundtable have sent a letter to Congressmen Higgins, Reed, and Collins, calling on them to protect the Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC), and support HR 1158, which would improve access to HTC’s for smaller historic redevelopment programs.
This year, Congressional leaders in the House have made known their intention to eliminate most tax credit programs as part of a broader tax reform package. Despite the fact that the HTC returns money to the Federal government, it is at serious risk of elimination. The National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates that for every dollar in tax credits invested in rehabilitating historic structures, the U.S. Treasury collects $1.26 in revenue. Eliminating the Federal Historic Tax Credit would not just be bad for Buffalo, it would add to budgetary woes in Washington.
Said Jessie Fisher, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara: “The Federal HTC combined with the New York State Historic Tax Credit is responsible for creating over half a billion dollars of investment in Western New York’s historic treasures and legacy neighborhoods, including over 5,000 good-paying jobs. This is one of the most important and successful economic development programs in our area, both for the direct impact it has had on our communities, as well as for the way it is shaping our ability to compete in the global heritage tourism marketplace.”
To say that the program has been helpful toward developing new downtown living spaces is an understatement. Comments Rocco Termini, head of Signature Development, “Every building that has been converted to lofts over the last 15 years happened because of the historic tax credit.”
Local developer and architect Jake Schneider expands on that thought with this comment: "In order to maintain the current economic momentum the Buffalo/Niagara region is experiencing, it is imperative that the federal government retain the Historic Tax Credit program. Almost all of the housing developed in Buffalo's downtown since the year 2000 has been accomplished utilizing gap financing made possible through the Historic Tax Credit program. Leveraging historic tax credits is an essential development tool for the successful adaptive reuse of historic infrastructure. It is critically important to cities like Buffalo that possess a wealth of historically significant structures in a marketplace with low rental ceilings and housing prices."
A number of significant upcoming projects would be negatively impacted by the loss of the Historic Tax Credit program, including the City’s Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project, which relies in large part on historic tax credits to bring this job training and light manufacturing project in the heart of the East Side to life.
In addition to protecting the existing program, PBN and the Developer Roundtable are asking our Congressional Delegation to become sponsors of H.R. 1158, the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017. This bill would add additional incentives for smaller projects, which would be extremely helpful in Buffalo to ensure that historic investments move out of the downtown core and into our neighborhoods. These incentives would allow more smaller rehabilitations to take place, while also keeping prices affordable for local businesses and renters. This program would also be especially beneficial to rural communities as well as smaller cities such as Jamestown and Corning.
PBN’s Developer Roundtable includes:
Sinatra and Co.
TM Montante Development
Preservation Studios LLC
Common Bond Real Estate LLC
Schneider Development LLC
Stinson Properties, Inc.