By: Bill MacRostie
I just returned from the ULI Carolinas' Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. What a difference enlightened leadership can make in effective revitalization efforts! In stark contrast to Governor Jerry Brown—whose spirited attack on state historic credits in California at last year's ULI Fall Meeting in San Francisco betrayed an ignorance of their power—Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s welcoming remarks in Raleigh opened with an unsolicited account of the importance of the newly revitalized state historic credit program in North Carolina.
Those of us in the trenches who have been watching the transformative effect of the state and federal historic credit programs at work in North Carolina are true believers in their effectiveness, but it was nice to hear a successful politician make the same case. And Gov. McCrory’s obvious enthusiasm for historic credits made clear that his strong leadership last year to replace the state’s sunsetting program was heartfelt.
The Governor’s enthusiasm aside, during my career I cannot think of a state where I’ve seen a more dramatic impact on communities from historic credits—or more quickly. In the last fifteen years, downtown Durham has literally been transformed, with the initial catalyst being the project financing power of historic credits. The same in Winston-Salem… and in many other cities and mill towns throughout the state.
It was terrific to hear confirmation that the Governor agrees.