Credit Worthy News

May is Preservation Month

Posted by Katherine Ferguson on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rainwater Building | Florence, SC

Since 1973, May has been designated as Preservation Month. Events are planned by the National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and many statewide and local preservation organizations to encourage interest in historic preservation.

Historic tax credits (HTCs) are an excellent economic tool for private developers, local governments, and communities. But at their heart, historic tax credits are about preserving historic resources for future generations.

  • HTCs require good stewardship. The core requirement of the HTC program is that projects must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. These 10 standards guide every design review by state historic preservation offices and the National Park Service. Because of this, successful HTC projects have followed best-practices for rehabilitation, including the inclusion of historic materials and sensitive adaptations of interior spaces.

  • HTC projects encourage new preservation. Once one historic rehabilitation is undertaken, it is almost guaranteed that others will follow. This is apparent on Main Streets, in former mill villages, and throughout disinvested urban neighborhoods. And the marketable success of these districts of preservation is also pollenated to other communities.

  • HTC projects are essential to placemaking. Speaking of marketable success, historic preservation is often the center of placemaking efforts. By using existing resources and their historical commentary about the development of a community, historic buildings are often the cornerstone for new design and planning activities aimed at revitalizing economic activity.

Preservation is much more than HTC projects. But HTC projects are always preservation. Cultivating appreciation for our historic built environment is the mission of outstanding organizations around the country.

In May (and every other month), we encourage you to seek out ways to learn more about the history of your place and how you can support good preservation that is supporting your community.

Topics: National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service

National Park Service Releases 2017 HTC Report

Posted by Katherine Ferguson on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

As historic preservation advocates spend the week on Capitol Hill for Preservation Action's Advocacy Week, the National Park Service has released the Federal Tax Incentives for Rehabilitation Historic Buildings: Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2017

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 9.30.15 AM.png| Click to view

Among the impressive findings for 2017:

  • Over $5.8 billion of private investment was certified (Part 3).
  • Almost 107,000 jobs were created.
  • There was a 16 percent increase in Part 2 approvals, representing an estimated $9.07 billion in QREs.

With FY 2018 well underway, and even with the late 2017 tax law changes, we expect that these trends will continue to show the positive effects of the historic tax credit program on our nation's historic buildings. 

Topics: federal HTC, National Park Service

New Historic Rehabilitation Guidelines

Posted by Katherine Ferguson on Friday, July 14, 2017

Consider them the "10 Commandments of Rehabilitation." The Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation are the litmus by which all historic tax credit projects are tested before they are approved. If you have used an HTC program, you are probably well aware of their allowances and limitations for sensitively rehabilitating an historic building.

Note: The avoidance of words like preservation, restoration and reconstruction in describing them is intentional. Those each have their own set of standards. Rehabilitation is the only treatment that allows for alterations and the construction of a new addition.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 5.17.07 PM.pngClick image for full 2017 guidelines

Just this week, the National Park Service released revised Guidelines. While the Standards themselves remain the same, guidance on specific treatments have been updated to include 20th-century building types, materials, and systems that are now 50 years old. Advances in technology have also been taken into consideration for the Guidelines as well. In particular, the new version includes additional entries on glass, paint and other coatings, composite materials, imitative materials, and curtain walls. Rehabilitation Guidelines are also broadened for related new construction on a building site.

Another change to the Standards includes the removal of the Energy Efficiency section (see the Illustrated Guidelines below) and the inclusion of Guidance on Resilience to Natural Hazards.

Here are a few more helpful links to guidance from the Technical Preservation Services division of the Nation Park Service:

  • Preservation Briefs | These 49 whitepapers help to shed light on some of the more specific questions that might arise in historic rehabilitations from cleaning, repair, and substitute materials to seismic retrofits, lead-paint hazards, and graffiti removal.

  • Illustrated Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings | Last updated in 1997, the pictures may be old but so are the buildings they discuss. This guide for rehabilitation treatments includes, among other things, a chapter on Energy Conservation.

  • Sustainability | The National Park Service has a whole webpage dedicated to preservation and sustainability. Check it out for subjects like energy efficiency in historic buildings, new technology and historic properties, sustainable prerservation in practice, and an interactive web feature on sustainability guidelines.

For guidance on how to apply the Standards to a specific project, contact our expert team.

Topics: National Park Service, Standards for Rehabilitation, Secretary of the Interior, Guidance