October 31, 2017

Click here to see original post on the Downtown Cleveland Alliance's website.

There is no denying that Downtown Cleveland is a more vibrant place today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Why? The Federal Historic Tax Credit program. The most critical financing tool to Downtown Cleveland’s successful transformation from a traditional central business district into a vibrant neighborhood, is now in imminent danger of being eliminated by Congress.

Today, we have more than 15,000 residents living in Downtown Cleveland and more than 95,000 people working in the central business district. How did we get here? In large part due to the smart use of federal historic tax credits (HTC), which do three main things:
  • Provide funding to fill the gap between private investment, bank financing and public investment;
  • Rehabilitate historic buildings into housing, office space and renovated retail space; and,
  • Pay for themselves by generating at least $1.20 in revenue back to the federal government for every dollar spent.
The impact this one program has had on Cleveland is tremendous.  Over the last 15 years, $254 million in federal HTC credit financing has created 25,000 jobs throughout the city of Cleveland while generating $339 million in tax revenue.  Nearly 40% of downtown residents live in an HTC financed building.

75 percent of the economic benefit of historic rehabilitation projects remains in the community where the work is done, largely because, unlike new construction, the greatest project costs are labor rather than materials. In addition to construction jobs, it has created jobs at grocery stores, hotels, shops, and restaurants. Moreover, the completed projects create the kind of unique, authentic neighborhoods that attract residents and jobs.

But it’s not just Cleveland that benefits. According to data provided by the National Park Service, 982 projects in Ohio received certification through the federal historic tax credit program, from fiscal year 2002 through 2016, resulting in over $3 billion in total development.

Federal historic tax credits have led to the creation of 2.5 million jobs across the United States and $29.8 billion in tax revenue since the program began.

And yet, Congress, is looking to end this effective, job-creating and revenue-generating program in the name of tax reform.

If Congress passes tax reform without preserving the federal HTC, they will be putting Cleveland’s economy and future at risk. The momentum we have built in the last several years will fade away. Redevelopment of other historic buildings, including The May Co. building, may not happen. The demand for housing as well as office and retail space will decline. Fewer jobs will be created. Population growth will stall.

Let Congress know that this is unacceptable. (Click here to find your respresesntative and senators). 

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of federal historic tax credits to Downtown Cleveland and Cleveland as a whole. It is absolutely essential that this program – which encourages private investment in cities like Cleveland – continues.

Join us in the fight to preserve the federal historic tax credit program by calling, writing or tweeting using the hashtag #HistoricTaxCredit at your congressional representative and senators today.

Category: General News

Tags: Congress, DCA, Downtown, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Historic Tax Credits, HTC