Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Encouraging Bringing Historic Buildings Back to Life


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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) this week announced the first recipients for a new statewide historic preservation income tax credit program encouraging private investment to rehabilitate historic properties in Illinois.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, administered by the IDNR State Historic Preservation Office, is available to owners of historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitations making them eligible for a tax credit of up to $3 million per project based on a percentage of their rehabilitation costs. Credits are limited to a total of $15 million in allocations per year, with a total of $75 million in tax credits available over the five years that the program is to be in effect.

“The substantial private investment required as part of the program will create skilled labor jobs in Illinois, stimulate local economies and bring underutilized buildings back on the tax rolls,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “What’s more, it will help house new businesses and revitalize historic structures, downtowns, and neighborhoods.”

While this is the state’s first statewide historic tax credit program, Illinois already administers a highly successful River Edge Historic Tax Credit, which is limited to only five cities in the state.

“The economic and cultural benefits of returning historic buildings back to useful life ripple through local communities and economies,” Callahan said. “Rehabbing historic buildings has been shown to create more local jobs per project than new construction. The economic benefits of the ongoing five-city River Edge state historic tax credit can be readily seen in the renaissance of Peoria’s riverfront historic district and in Rockford’s downtown historic districts.”

Private investment in construction and rehabilitation expenses and their leveraged effect create more full and part-time local jobs. Together with the related businesses located in those buildings, millions in state and local tax revenues are generated, Callahan added.

Illinois joins 32 other states which now offer statewide historic tax credits, which are known to stimulate local economies. In fact, a study by Landmarks Illinois showed that a state tax credit program can generate as much as $10.24 in economic impact per $1.00 of credit awarded during the construction phase alone (prior to any tax credit being issued), and up to $11.47 of economic impact per $1.00 dollar of credit in the first five years after project completion.

For this round of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, complete applications were received from applicants representing 24 historic properties in 11 different communities. The total private investment related to the selected projects is estimated to be more than $578 million and the total amount of credits requested were approximately $47.6 million. Due to program caps, $9,750,000 in credits were assigned to the four projects which were allocated a credit in the first application round.

The following four historic building renovations received an allocation for a future state income tax credit:

• The former Hotel Belleville, located at 16 South Illinois Street, Belleville, will be converted into affordable senior housing with ground floor retail. 
• The former Cook County Hospital Administration Building, located at 1835 West Harrison Street, Chicago, will be converted into two hotels, offices, and retail.
• The former Paris High School, located at 309 South Main in Paris, Illinois will be rehabilitated into affordable and senior apartments.
• The former nurses’ quarters at Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital (Building #14), located at 5000 South 5th Avenue, Hines, will be rehabilitated into supportive veterans housing.

The tax credits will be issued once each project is successfully completed meeting all program requirements. Substantial private investment will already have been made in these communities before the credit is issued.

The credits are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to buildings that are located in low-income census tracts, counties that border a state with a competitive statewide historic tax credit, and federally declared disaster areas. Buildings that were once owned by a government entity, and whose development partnership includes a Community Development Entity, a low-profit organization, or a not-for-profit organization are also given priority for an allocation.

For more information on the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, contact Carol Dyson, 217-524-0276, carol.dyson@illinois.gov or Darius Bryjka, 217-558-8918, darius.bryjka@illinois.gov with the IDNR State Historic Preservation Office.


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