Veteran and Military Properties Rehabbed Using Historic Tax Credits

Just as the valiant men and women who are honored this week for Veteran’s Day, there are many retired military properties that have been honored through preservation and reuse. MHA has had the privilege of being consultants on a few.

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Great Lakes Naval Training Station Housing
Great Lakes, Illinois | Built 1906-1915

MHA served as the historic tax credit consultant to Forest City Military Communities for the tax-advantaged rehabilitation of multiple housing units at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station north of Chicago. The historic core of the training station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes 37 extant original masonry buildings all constructed in the Classical Revival style between 1906 and 1915 according to designs by noted Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt. Forest City Military Communities LLC, in a public/private initiative with the U.S. Department of Defense, has rehabilitated the complex to provide affordable, quality, private housing to service members and their families nationwide.

MHA secured federal historic tax credits for 12 buildings within the historic core of the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, including the Brick Row officers’ quarters and the Commandant’s residence. The scope of rehabilitation work included masonry cleaning and repairs, removal of non-historic additions, restoration of porch elements, and upgrading of bathrooms and kitchens.

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The Howard Home
Brockton, Massachusetts | Built 1924

Built as the Howard Home for Aged Men, this Georgian Revival building originally served the elderly in Brockton, Massachusetts and in the 1930s was part of a VA complex that included a VA hospital. The historic Howard Home building is now being rehabilitated by Peabody Properties for use as an affordable housing option for homeless veterans. Once complete, it will feature 14 furnished efficiency apartments as well as community spaces and program offices. Federal rental subsidies provided by the Brockton Housing Authority will help to keep rental rates to 30 percent of a tenant’s income.

MHA is working with Peabody Properties to apply for federal and state historic tax credits that will offset rehabilitation costs. The project includes extensive repainting, important structural and material repairs, and necessary updates that meet the needs of the program while maintaining historic integrity.

 

In addition to serving our veterans, historic military complexes are often adapted to meet community needs. One such example is the Spanish Colonial buildings of the San Diego Naval Training Station that is now home to the Naval Training Center at Liberty Station, an arts, culture, science and technology destination. The complex, built between 1921 and 1943, successfully leveraged the federal historic tax credit for the project and now provides a collaborative environment for San Diego organizations that respects the history of the buildings, offering opportunities for the community to create and learn together.

With careful planning and strategy, we have seen firsthand how historic tax credit programs can be a beneficial addition to the capital stack for rehabilitations of veteran military properties. These projects also help to preserve places that have been home to many American heroes and are an important part of our collective history.