Publications, Reports & Surveys

Economic Impact Reports

No Small Change: The Grant Programs of Landmarks Illinois (2017)

Landmarks Illinois grants, while relatively small, often serve as a catalyst for major transformation at Illinois historic sites. A new analysis of the nearly 200 grants Landmarks Illinois has awarded over the past 33 years shows recipients were able to use the LI funding to ultimately save an important historic resource and to leverage additional funds needed to finish a large-scale historic preservation project.

The study, “No Small Change: The Grant Programs of Landmarks Illinois,” was prepared by PlaceEconomics for Landmarks Illinois. The study reviewed a total of 192 grants awarded between 1984 and 2017 through three Landmarks Illinois grant programs: The Endangered Building grant program, the Preservation Heritage Fund, and the Barbara C. Thomas E. Donnelley II grant program.

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IMPACTS OF COURTHOUSE INITIATIVE (2015)

In 2009 the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust awarded Landmarks Illinois $1 million to create the Landmarks Illinois’ Richard H. Driehaus Courthouse Initiative. Over a five-year period, the funds were distributed through matching grants to help support projects in 17 counties around the state. The program supported the restoration of historic county courthouses’ defining features such as clocks, bell towers, cupolas and entryways. Some counties also received funds to design and implement energy efficient exterior lighting.

Landmarks Illinois commissioned a study by PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm specializing in the economics of revitalization, to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts the courthouse initiative had locally. Project impacts varied widely — sometimes unexpectedly, but always positively. Variations among counties included project scope of work, perceptions of each courthouse and local economic realities — all of which illuminated a unique story for each courthouse.

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ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE RIVER EDGE REDEVELOPMENT ZONE STATE HISTORIC TAX CREDIT IN ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS (2015)

This report examines the economic impact of the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Historic Tax Credit, which was created to revive and redevelop challenged historic properties in five river-adjacent Illinois cities: Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford.

Rockford is seeing a new wave of development within the River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ), largely because of the attractive State Historic Tax Credit that is offered to developers layered with the Federal Historic Tax Credit. The State Historic Tax Credit has made (and continues to make) projects happen that bring in new restaurants, a destination banquet and brewing facility, dozens of residential lofts and premier office space that attracts the right talent to Rockford and to Illinois. This tax credit brings life to many historic buildings that otherwise would stay off the tax rolls, assists in boosting property values and attracts young professionals with well-paying jobs to the area and to the state. In Rockford alone, the RERZ Historic Tax Credit has resulted in $120 million in private investment in Rockford’s historic places.

The RERZ Historic Tax Credit is set to expire on January 1, 2017. SB 1642 – the River Edge HTC extension bill – calls for the extension of this critical financing program. If not extended, many historic buildings in these cities will not be redeveloped and put back on the tax rolls. More time is needed for other critical projects to be completed that are still in the planning and pre-development phase.

What You Can Do

Join us in working alongside the five pilot program cities to pass this important extension. Please take a few minutes to reach out to your elected officials, particularly your State Senator and Representative, to let them know that preservation is a budget priority for you.

This report was generously underwritten by Alphawood Foundation.

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STATE HISTORIC TAX CREDIT ECONOMIC STUDY (2013-14)

The State Historic Tax Credit Economic Study examines the potential rehabilitation of historic buildings using a proposed 20% statewide historic tax credit. This report found that:

  •  A statewide historic tax credit would pay for itself and create jobs across the state.
  • The existing River’s Edge Historic Tax Credit, available only in 5 cities, is not sufficient for attracting investment and creating jobs statewide.
  • The state would receive revenues before it would allocate tax credits to historic rehabilitation projects.
  • A historic tax credit would be immediately accessible to eligible properties in communities across the entire state.
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MEASURING THE ECONOMICS OF PRESERVATION (2011)

Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm PlaceEconomics has prepared a report on measuring the economic impact of historic preservation for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The upshot? Historic preservation is good for the local economy. Dozens of studies conducted by different analysts using different methodologies have reached the same conclusion. This short version of the full report includes highlights from some of this research.

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THE IMPACT OF HISTORIC DISTRICT DESIGNATION ON PROPERTY VALUES (2008)

A study complied by the Rockford Historic Preservation Commission with assistance from the Rockford Community and Economic Development addresses the impact of inclusion in a historic district on property values. The study found that properties in Rockford’s four residential historic districts generally performed better over the past 30 years than did equivalent properties in comparable neighborhoods.

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MEASURING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTIES (2005)

This report is an introduction to the impact of federal stewardship of historic properties on economic vitality. It discusses the difficulties in measuring the economic impact of historic preservation and examines the historic preservation activities undertaken by federal agencies and how they can generate positive effects. The report also provides a three-dimensional analytical framework that federal managers should consider in analyzing the economic impact of their agency’s historic preservation programs. The three dimensions are: economic activities, economic benefits and economic effects.

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reuse studies

A RECREATIONAL REUSE STUDY FOR THE FORMER ELGIN STATE HOSPITAL LAUNDRY BUILDING (2016)

This study explores reuse opportunities for the Elgin Laundry Building, a unique accordion-shaped facility designed by Bertrand Goldberg and built on the former Elgin Mental Health Hospital grounds. It identifies how the currently unused Elgin Laundry Building, listed on Landmarks Illinois’ 2008-09 Chicagoland Watchlist, could be reused as a multipurpose recreational facility for the people of Elgin while also preserving the historic building that serves as a striking example of leading Chicago Modernism architect Bertrand Goldberg. The study was released in partnership with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and the City of Elgin.

 

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BUILDING ON CHICAGO’S STRENGTHS: THE PARTNERSHIP FOR BUILDING REUSE (2016)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Urban Land Institute created the Partnership for Building Reuse in 2012 to enhance opportunities for building reuse in major U.S. cities. Recognizing the environmental, economic and community benefits of reusing vacant and blighted property, the Partnership for Building Reuse brings together community groups, real estate developers and civic leaders around the common goal of making it easier to reuse and retrofit these valuable assets.

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OPPORTUNITIES WITH FOOD PARTNERS TO REUSE CLOSED CPS SCHOOLS (2015)

Landmarks Illinois has released a study, “Opportunities with Food Partners to Reuse Closed CPS Schools,” with recommendations to the Chicago Public Schools to partially repurpose architecturally significant shuttered schools with a food-related use. Landmarks Illinois commissioned New Venture Advisors, a firm that helps communities and entrepreneurs identify market-based food systems solutions and build them into successful enterprises, to conduct the study to identify closed schools with high potential for a food-related reuse based on the condition of its commercial kitchen, ancillary indoor or outdoor space, neighborhood activity and interested organizations. Working from a list of 18 architecturally significant closed schools identified by Landmarks Illinois, New Venture Advisors recommended five key schools for this purpose. As stated in the study, “Chicago is emerging as a leader in food entrepreneurship, local food systems, urban agriculture, and healthy food access innovation… Within this exciting food culture, assets like closed CPS schools… which previously served as focal points of their community and often have beautiful, well designed facilities with functional commercial kitchen space, can be very well positioned to play a key role in this rapidly expanding sector.”

This study was generously funded by the Alphawood Foundation.

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REHABILITATION AND REUSE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE MAYWOOD HOME FOR SOLDIERS’ WIDOWS (2014)

With its consulting team, Landmarks Illinois assessed the reuse potential of the 1924 Soldiers’ Widows Home in Maywood. The study found that the building’s layout and location make it well-suited for conversion to an office or medical office. Village of Maywood trustees and staff are encouraged to market the home together with the adjacent land at 1st Avenue and Lake Street for reuse and redevelopment, which could have a positive impact on the surrounding area and the village as a whole.

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LATHROP HOMES REDEVELOPMENT AND PRESERVATION PLAN (2007)

Since the listing of Lathrop Homes as one of Landmarks Illinois’ 2007 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, Landmarks Illinois has attempted to demonstrate the viability of this 1937 public housing complex. In early 2008, Landmarks Illinois presented to Lathrop residents a redevelopment and preservation plan, prepared by Antunovich Associates.

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A REUSE PLAN FOR COOK COUNTY HOSPITAL: A BETTER AND MORE COST-EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO DEMOLITION (2003)

The nearly century-old building at 1835 W. Harrison Street in Chicago had been the subject of a nine-year advocacy effort to prevent its demolition. That battle ended on March 2, 2010, when the Cook County Board voted to support a rehabilitation proposal to convert the long-vacant structure into medical offices.

Landmarks Illinois included the mammoth, two-block-long Beaux Arts-style building as one of its 2001 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The listing had been prompted by the construction of a replacement hospital next to the historic building.

A detailed reuse plan, featuring design solutions and construction estimates, was prepared by Landmarks Illinois in April 2003 and was widely distributed to public officials and developers.

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Religious Properties

Preserving, protecting and reusing historic places of worship is a nation-wide challenge due to declining numbers of worshippers and changing demographics in neighborhoods and communities. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, has compiled a two-part toolkit regarding how to preserve places of worship.

Click here to access Part 1 and here to access Part 2.

In 2005 , Landmarks Illinois prepared a short pictorial survey of Chicago’s endangered, unprotected, lost and reused religious structures, which is available for viewing by clicking the button below.

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Surveys

RECENT PAST BUILDING SURVEY OF SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY (Ongoing)

This survey focuses on architecturally significant non-residential suburban Chicago buildings dating from 1935 to 1975 — a period commonly referred to as the “recent past.” Approximately 4,100 commercial, institutional, office and religious structures have been identified in more than 53 communities throughout Cook County, Illinois. The survey has been conducted annually by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Graduate Program in Historic Preservation since 2006. Explore the Recent Past Survey of Suburban Cook County by clicking here. View highlights from the Recent Past Survey of Suburban Cook County on Flickr.

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PRESERVATION CHALLENGES IN THE CHICAGO SUBURBS (2015)

Landmarks Illinois and the Illinois Association of Historic Preservation Commissions (IAHPC) heard many stories throughout 2015 of difficult preservation decisions and policy changes in suburban communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. We continue to hear about struggles many suburban preservation commissions are experiencing, specifically related to local landmark designation efforts, preservation ordinances, demo delay ordinances and threats to designated local landmarks.Our organizations issued a survey in August 2015, to gauge the level of support for historic preservation in suburban communities. It was structured to identify current and emerging preservation issues faced by local communities, municipal and county planning staffs, and local historic preservation commissioners in Chicago’s suburbs. The results of the survey will guide us in developing programs and strategies to address suburban historic preservation challenges.

A meeting of Landmarks Illinois’ Suburban Preservation Alliance was convened in Evanston on September 12, 2015, to present the results of the survey. Hosted by the Evanston Historic Preservation Commission, the day allowed us to hear feedback from preservation advocates who attended from over a dozen communities.

Special thanks to Diane Williams, Director, Business Districts Inc. (BDI); John Hedrick, Senior Fellow, Chaddick Institute; Jean Follett, Landmarks Illinois Board Member; and Doug Kaarre, Board President, IAHPC for their help in organizing this survey.

If you are not part of the Suburban Preservation Alliance email network and would like to receive notices about future meetings, contact Lisa DiChiera, Landmarks Illinois’ Director of Advocacy at dichieral@landmarks.org.

What is the Suburban Preservation Alliance? The Suburban Preservation Alliance was initiated by the Midwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2008 to bring together suburban preservation advocates in the Chicago area to discuss challenges, opportunities and strategies. Initially it was part of the National Trust’s advocacy effort on behalf of communities that were experiencing teardowns and their associated impacts. An online group was formed enabling participants to communicate and share documents and best practices. When the National Trust realigned its staff and its advocacy work in 2012, management of the Alliance was passed to Landmarks Illinois. The group began meeting on a more regular basis, with quarterly meetings in north, west and south suburban areas. Meeting topics have included teardowns, surveys, house tours, real estate training, effective advocacy and more. The SPA continues to provide an important networking opportunity and communications nexus for suburban preservation commissions and advocates.

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BARN PRESERVATION: A SURVEY OF ILLINOIS ACTIVITY (2005)

In the summer of 2005, Nicholas Hayward was a graduate student in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell University who interned at Landmarks Illinois and surveyed barn preservation and documentation efforts throughout Illinois. Hayward, from the rural community of Chillicothe, Illinois, was familiar with the struggles faced by small-operation farmers and the difficulty for many farm families to preserve their historic agricultural structures — most notably, barns. Each year, more of these “prairie cathedrals” disappear from our rural landscape. However, as Hayward contacted county officials, AG extension agents, and other local leaders from nearly all of the state’s 102 counties, he found a robust statewide effort toward documenting and highlighting historic barns through tourism and promotion. While this study is now over ten years old, its findings are still informative today. (Photo: Family-owned barn in Galesburg, Illinois. Credit: Jean Follett)

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OWNER CONSENT CLAUSE: GOOD OR BAD? (2004)

Many communities debate whether or not to include an owner consent clause in their preservation ordinance, which requires the owner to give consent in order for a building to be landmarked. While the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency does not encourage an owner consent clause, it is allowed.

Pia Hermoso, an intern for LPCI from the Historic Preservation program at the School of the Art Institute, surveyed Certified Local Governments (CLG) in Illinois in 2004 to determine which had owner consent clauses in their ordinances. Based on that, she inquired how each community assessed its preservation accomplishments. Her survey showed on average, CLGs without owner consent clauses had a slightly better track record in regard to landmark designations.

However, some CLGs with owner consent clauses have had effective landmarking efforts correlated with extensive educational outreach to historic building owners, specifically regarding the rehabilitation tax incentives available to owners of landmarked buildings. In either circumstance, it is clear education is the key to making owners comfortable with what it means to own a locally landmarked property.

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR’S STANDARDS FOR REHABILITATION

In order to be eligible for the 20% rehabilitation tax credit, rehabilitation projects must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, as interpreted by the National Park Service. The standards apply to both the exterior and the interior of historic buildings of all periods, styles, types, materials and sizes. The standards also encompass related landscape features and the building’s site and environment as well as attached, adjacent or related new construction. Download a PDF of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation below.

View the Standards

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR’S GUIDELINES ON SUSTAINABILITY FOR REHABILITATING HISTORIC BUILDINGS

The Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings stress the inherent sustainability of historic buildings and offer specific guidance on “recommended” rehabilitation treatments and “not recommended” treatments, which could negatively impact a building’s historic character. Download the guidelines below.  They are also available as an interactive web feature.

Download the Guidelines

DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR HISTORIC CHICAGO BUNGALOWS

The Design Guidelines for Historic Chicago Bungalows, which is issued by the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, provides owners with a general reference for the do’s and don’t’s of bungalow preservation and maintenance.

Download the Guidebook

GREYSTONE DESIGN GUIDELINES BOOKLET

The Greystone Design Guidelines Booklet provides tips and illustrations for the repair of the components of a typical greystone – masonry, front porches, windows, roofs and cornices, interiors and mechanical systems. This booklet was created by the Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative®. Educating homeowners about the care and preservation of greystones is a central part of its mission.

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JOLIET LEMONT LIMESTONE: PRESERVATION OF AN HISTORIC BUILDING MATERIAL (1988)

This booklet is a practical guide to the conservation of Joliet-Lemont limestone. It aims to assist building owners, architects and contractors in making informed decisions and to provide scholars and the public with the historical and technical understanding of this stone, which was so important to the settlement and industrialization of Illinois.

Download the Guide

HOW TO SAVE A LANDMARKS (1993)

While this guide is over 20 years old it’s recommendations are still informative today. This guide is meant to help you through the process of protecting your community’s architecturally and historically significant properties. It lays out steps you can follow in your preservation efforts and presents tactics, strategies, and organizing tips. The guide also includes five success stories.

Download the Guide

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