Preservation Pennsylvania Releases Economic Impact Study of PA HPTC

Preservation Pennsylvania recently released a new economic study titled “The Missing Key, A Study of the Impact and Potential of the PA HPTC” to champion the state’s historic tax credit program ahead of its sunset date in June of 2020. Preservation Pennsylvania is currently working closely with state Senators and Representatives to reauthorize and expand the current Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Tax Credit (PA HPTC). The new report was completed by Donovan Rypkema and PlaceEconomics. The use in the state of the PA HPTC (passed in 2012) and the Federal Rehabilitation Tax were studied to determine the impact HTCs have had on Pennsylvania’s communities and historic resources.


Pennsylvania’s historic rehabilitation projects that utilized historic tax credits generated many of the same positive outcomes as seen across the country. The state has awarded $15 million in credits up to May 2019 for projects totaling more than $700 million in public and private investment. In Pennsylvania, for each $1 million investment in a project, 6.4 direct jobs and 5.6 indirect/induced jobs were created. Historic rehabilitation jobs are consistently higher paying than new construction jobs.

The state historic tax credit projects also represented a wide range of project size, location, and type. Almost half of the PA HPTC projects were under a million dollars, with a quarter of those under $500,000. The state has also seen their program touch 50 different communities, from both the large cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to small towns where both the state and federal HTC are necessary to fund a project.


Currently, the PA HPTC has an annual cap of $3 million in tax credits per fiscal year. Tax credits per project cannot exceed $500,000. Every year since the program was authorized the amount requested for credits has far exceeded the $3 million limit. The report found that Pennsylvania is falling behind other states in its use of the Federal Historic Tax Credit program due to the small annual cap and the small per-project limit of their state program. Vermont is the only state with a lower annual cap, and their population is less than five percent of that of Pennsylvania. The report found that if the annual cap was increased to $50 million a year, a potential of 2,800 new jobs would be created.

Next Steps

With the sunset date of the current PA HPTC program fast approaching, many dedicated groups and individuals are seeking to gain support for the re-authorization of the program. The report by Rypkema and PlaceEconomics also outlined recommendations for the state program moving forward. These dedicated groups are hoping to see some form of these recommendations implemented along with the re-authorization of the program.

More information on these efforts can be found through Preservation Pennsylvania.

Cover Photo: Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant | Pittsburgh, PA

MHA Project Welford Sanders Historic Lofts Wins Wisconsin Association of Historic Preservation Commissions Award

On April 12th, 2019, the Welford Sanders Historic Lofts won a 2019 Historic Preservation Excellence Award from the Wisconsin Association of Historic Preservation Commissions (WAHPC). The Welford Sanders Historic Lofts & Enterprise Center is housed in the historic Nunn Bush Shoe Company Factory in Milwaukee, rehabbed for new affordable housing and affordable business offices for community service organizations.

Milwaukee’s Nunn Bush Shoe Company was one of the largest and longest-operating manufacturers of leather shoes in the city’s history. The building was completed in 1916 and housed not only the company’s main manufacturing facility but their headquarters as well. The rehabilitation development team comprised of Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation (MLKEDC) and Wisconsin Redevelopment, and continued the legacy of the Nunn Bush Shoe Company’s progressive labor practices through the building’s reuse as affordable housing and office space.

Nunn Bush Interior.JPG

MHA served as preservation consultant for the Welford Sanders project, preparing the federal historic tax credit application and the National Register nomination. Preservation work on the building included sensitive repairs to the exterior masonry and windows, removal of the loading dock, and reconfiguration and preservation of interior spaces into apartments and offices. Removal of a later rear loading dock allowed for a new courtyard and access to the basement that was redeveloped into a parking garage and storage for tenants. Interior spaces were updated to retain as much of their historic character as possible for the fifty-nine affordable two-, three-, and four-bedroom loft-style apartments and 40,000 square feet of affordable office space that now occupies the factory. Many brick walls were left unfinished and new ducts, pipes and conduit were left exposed to carry on the industrial character. The original sixth-floor cafeteria was adapted into amenity space for residents with a fitness center, party space, media room, and laundry area.

The Welford Sanders Historic Lofts stands as yet another testament to the continued success of the joint use of historic rehabilitation and affordable housing tax credits. MHA congratulates the project team on this award!

In Memoriam | William "Bill" Murtagh, First Keeper of the Register

In Memoriam | William "Bill" Murtagh, First Keeper of the Register

At 95 years old, William “Bill” Murtagh, a founding father of the modern historic preservation movement in America, passed away on October 28. Our profession owes a great deal to Murtagh’s scholarship and leadership in the formation of current principles that guide many aspects of preserving our nation’s historic resources, including the process of review for historic tax credits.

FY 2017 Annual Report on the Economic Impact of Historic Tax Credits continues to support merits of the program

The National Park Service and Rutgers University have released the Annual Report on the Economic Impact of Historic Tax Credits for FY 2017. Once again, the findings show the strength of the federal historic tax credit program in stimulating investment and communities and job creation.