Have you ever wondered what we do day-to-day at MHA or how Bill MacRostie became a leading voice in historic tax credits?
This St. Paddy’s week, America’s urban areas are crawling with green-clad revelers drinking green-colored beverages. No doubt that many of these merry-makers will be patronizing pubs in historic buildings and main streets that have benefited from historic preservation efforts. They may not be painted green for the occasion (although there may be a few), but these buildings are often considered ‘the greenest buildings,’ a term coined by American architect and sustainability expert Carl Elefante (FAIA, LEED AP) when he declared, “The greenest building is the one that is already built.”
Since industrialization, urban centers across the country have been building up. Early multi-story masonry buildings gave way to glass and steel skyscrapers to create the skylines that have become iconic for many cities. In the 1920s and 1930s, technology and design collided to create the International Style of building that became the prevalent blueprint for modern construction for many decades.
But what is to be done about the millions of square feet that have been left vacant and obsolete when businesses abandon these towers for new facilities or more convenient locations?
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.
What better day is there to talk about going green in South Boston than St. Patrick’s Day?
Many of the cities that are focusing on increased density are those that have historic downtown cores or neighborhoods.
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.
To some people, abandoned mills and other abandoned buildings can be a bit spooky. But to some real estate developers they can mean opportunity, particularly in states with tax incentive programs.
A developer taking on a project involving a group of buildings that served together historically is likely to visit an arcane corner of NPS world called the functionally-related complex policy. Military bases, hospital complexes, industrial complexes, and many other groups of buildings all come under the umbrella of what NPS regulations define as a single resource AND if a single developer or related developers takes on a phased project involving two or more buildings in the group, then the project will be required to file a single Part 1, 2 and 3 application, and will not receive a Part 3 approval until all phases are complete.
Historic preservation and multi-family housing have a long history together, especially in the capital stack of affordable housing projects throughout the country.