Will discuss how to meet the challenges of redeveloping historic buildings in economically distressed areas
DETROIT, MI – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will join Sen. Carl Levin in hosting a meeting Friday morning with economic development, real estate and design professionals and other stakeholders to discuss ways in which the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program can help spark development in communities that have faced significant long-term economic challenges. Secretary Salazar and Senator Levin will also be joined by Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante, Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway, and Michigan State Housing Development Authority Director Scott Woosley.
“Detroit's historic buildings and neighborhoods hold great promise, and already the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program has helped preserve and restore 70 tax credit projects in Detroit since 2000, representing over a half billion dollars in private investment,” Salazar said. “I look forward to meeting with stakeholders to discuss the program, including how we can strengthen partnerships when it comes to revitalizing this great city.”
“Detroit's rich history is captured in its buildings. Preservation cannot happen without successful re-use of these buildings, and that's where the federal historic tax credit program plays a vital role,” said Senator Levin. “I'm delighted that Secretary Salazar has chosen to visit our great city, and on Friday he'll talk to Detroiters about how to make this federal program an even more powerful tool for revitalizing our cities.”
“Historic preservation is an effective tool for accelerating the economic and social revitalization of communities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment. Last year, HUD selected the Detroit Multifamily Hub to be a part of HUD's pilot low-income housing tax credit program because of the potential to spur the development and financing of more multifamily affordable housing units in communities, such as Detroit, that need revitalization,” said Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante. "We look forward to continuing to work with FHA approved lenders, community stakeholders and the Department of Interior to ensure that historic preservation is done in cooperation with affordable housing preservation and construction."
Before the meeting, Salazar and Levin will tour the Odd Fellows Building, which was rehabilitated in 2006 by the Southwest Detroit Business Association with the help of historic tax credits. The building was structurally unsound, without a roof, and close to being demolished when the association acquired it. In addition to meeting preservation standards, the building has many sustainable features such as a geothermal well.
The program, administered by the National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices, provides a 20 percent tax credit to developers who undertake a substantial rehabilitation of a historic building while maintaining its historic character. On Friday afternoon, the National Park Service and the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office are hosting a public workshop on the program for owners of historic commercial and rental residential properties.
Nationally, some 39,000 historic buildings, representing over $66 billion in private investment, have been rehabilitated using the credits—including many in economically depressed areas. A recent analysis indicated that about two-thirds of all projects were in areas at or below 80 percent of median family incomes.