Credit Worthy News

From the Road: Buffalo, NY

Posted by Albert Rex on Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In Buffalo, New York, there is a great architectural legacy forged by two centuries of commerce and some of the countries finest examples of architectural style from the Louis Sullivan Guaranty Building to the Art Deco Buffalo City Hall. Because the city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, there are many opportunities for historic rehabilitation projects utilizing federal and state historic tax credits. That is why tomorrow I will present with my peers from the legal, accounting, development communities as well as the State Historic Preservation Office, and overview of the tax credit programs and the impacts they can have on a city like Buffalo at Transforming Communities with Historic Tax Credits Buffalo, NY, An IPED Conference. The program will include and overview of the basics, the impact of the state historic credit and other programs, case studies and a discussion of hot button issues.

I have seen first hand the impact the combination of the state and federal historic credits can have with our work on PS 60, now Riverside Apartments, in the Black Rock Neighborhood of Buffalo. MHA worked with our client DePaul, a private non-profit housing and service agency founded in 1958, to help them acquire state and federal historic tax credits for the redevelopment of the former Public School #60 (PS 60) first constructed in 1898 and significantly expanded in 1922. The elementary school was converted to 68 units of housing, a larger number of them with supportive services for individuals with mental health issues.


Working with SWBR Architects out of Rochester, NY, MHA guided DePaul through the entire historic tax credit process including a National Register Nomination. Some of the larger challenges for the project included preservation of the formal 1922 auditorium and grand stair. The former gymnasium was converted to housing units and a new secure main entrance was artfully designed by SWBR. Given the adaptive use of the building, there were significant life safety and other compliance issues that had to be overcome.

Riverside_Before.jpg      Riversdie_Exterior.jpg
                  | Before - Main Stair                                                                                            | After - New Entrance

_DSC6127.jpg         Riverside_1.jpg
                                                                  | After - Auditorium                                             | After - Hall

DePaul’s attorneys at Nixon Peabody can attest to the fact that every penny of the state and federal historic tax credit equity, as well as many other sources, was needed to make the project work financially. And it did work. This award-winning project is a great example of the transformative power of the historic tax credits.

Topics: Events, New York, Historic Tax Credits

Texas Historic Tax Credit Proving a Success

Posted by Katherine Ferguson on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

MacRostie Historic Advisors has worked in 39 states across the country (including Alaska and Hawaii), and we know that strong state historic tax credit programs can be critical for historic building development.

Pearl Brewery Complex | San Antonio, TX
(Photo from

The state historic tax credit implemented in Texas in 2015 is yet another testament to the catalytic effect of these programs. In April, we teamed with the Texas Historical Commission to evaluate the success of the first year of the program for an article in the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits. And this Thursday, we will meet with over 50 real estate development professionals from ULI San Antonio to discuss how historic tax credit deals should be structured for project success. These efforts are born out of our commitment to historic preservation and bringing strategy, equity, and experience to historic building development

 Read the article: Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit Spurs Development and Federal Funding

To learn more or register for the June 23rd event, visit our Upcoming Events page or register by clicking the image below. 


Topics: Events

From the Road: Greenville, SC

Posted by Katherine Ferguson on Thursday, April 28, 2016

Earlier this month, we teamed up with ULI South Carolina in Greenville to talk historic tax credit deals with some of the area's best real estate minds. Our own Bill MacRostie and Richard Sidebottom (Director of MHA Southeast) were joined by Marshall Phillips of CohnReznick, Mac McLean of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., and developer Ken Reiter of Belmont Sayre to cover the basics of real estate transactions where historic tax credits are used. In these transactions, if not for the historic tax credit, the deals would not progress as the credits are an essential part of the capital stack. 

In Greenville, historic tax credit deals are one of the primary ways many of the old mills along the city’s textile crescent are being rehabilitated. And in communities like the Village of West Greenville along Pendleton Street, the commercial district that grew up to serve workers of Brandon Mill, there is a renewed interest in the architecture that was influenced by the presence of these industries. 

Village of West Greenville | Facebook

Whereas Greenville’s award-winning and stunningly beautiful Main Street, Falls River Park, and West End Historic District were spurred by long-term investment by the city, the emergence of private sector rehabilitations is creating new opportunities for historic tax credits to play a big role in financing the renaissance of arts and culture in Upstate South Carolina’s largest city.

Greenville also benefits from its central location between Atlanta and Charlotte along Interstate 85. What makes rehabilitation in Greenville even more appealing is the competitive historic tax credit program offered by the state as well as two additional and robust programs, the South Carolina Textiles Communities Revitalization Act and the Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act, that can help developers and investors to claim up to 65% of qualified rehabilitation expenses in tax credits. Compared with the programs in Georgia and North Carolina, that is pretty generous.

Download Crafting the Historic Tax Credit Deal Presentation

Be sure to check our UPCOMING EVENTS page regularly to see if we are coming to a city near you and read more about South Carolina historic tax credits on our South Carolina state page.

Topics: historic tax credit, South Carolina, Events

How Historic Rehabs Contribute to the Dynamic City

Posted by Katherine Ferguson on Friday, April 15, 2016


A few weeks ago, we joined over 200 professionals and academics in the fields of city planning, architecture and historic preservation for a discussion about The Dynamic City: Futures for the Past. This symposium was hosted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities and Historic New England and was designed to examine the urban history of New England and its relationship within a global context.

Many of the topics had us contextualizing how historic preservation, especially rehabilitation projects, are contributing to the modern dynamic city. Topics ranged from discussions about data gathering and metrics used for Massachusetts’ Gateway City planning, gentrification issues, urban housing and the study of building obsolescence, and resilient design and sustainability. While most of these topics were geared toward Boston and Massachusetts – the Gateway City programs encompasses 26 former industrial towns or employment centers – examples also included Detroit, New Orleans, Seattle, and even London and Cuba. In all cases, historic rehabs are an integral part of protecting not only the history and character of a place, but have an impact on preserving affordable and mid-income housing.

Using Boston as the laboratory for many of these conceptual discussions was no fluke; it is one of the most historic cities in the United States, and also facing (and actively dealing with) issues that require dynamic planning. MHA Partner Albert Rex moderated the panel Envisioning Urban Housing. Panelists included Daniel Abramson, professor at Northeastern University, David Traggorth, owner of the Traggorth Companies, a housing developer and MHA client, and Sheila Dillon, director of the City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development. A city of limited landmass, Dillon spoke about how Boston is aggressively pursuing their strategic planning initiative titled Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. It addresses a projected population increase to 700,000 residents by that year, a number not reached since the 1950s. Part of this plan includes the incorporation of historic building stock. The panel spoke to how preservation concepts and practice are applied to this type of strategy.

Boston was also highlighted in a ULI Boston/New England study titled The Urban Implications of Living With Water. In this report, four districts of Greater Boston are examined to determine the likely risks of sea level rise and what might be done to combat them. The most historic of these is the Back Bay neighborhood. With a six foot sea level rise, it has been proposed tthhat a canal system be integrated into it to accommodate the rising waters. It is in planning for these types of certain changes that new innovation for historic preservation is sure to arise. In fact, the report addresses historic preservation directly and states, “the preservation of the historic character of the neighborhood will be realized through the development of new typographies for the built environment.”

Whatever challenges America’s dynamic cities face in the coming years and decades, we are sure that the rehabilitation of historic resources will be integral in meeting their demands. As sustainability becomes more of a necessity and less of just a good idea, the saying “the greenest building is the one that is already built” will not just be a movement slogan but an actual factor in the adaptation of the built environment.

After all, dynamic cities need dynamic buildings.

Topics: Urban Planning, Events