August 30, 2019
Communications Manager, Landmarks Illinois
Landmarks Illinois congratulates recipients of first round of Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credits, celebrates preservation of state’s historic buildings
CHICAGO – Landmarks Illinois is excited to see the first round of recipients for the new Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program (SHTC) announced today. The Illinois State Historic Preservation Office posted on its website four projects that will receive the first round of funding through the program, totaling $9.75 million in tax credits to complete certified rehabilitations. The projects are located in Belleville, Chicago, Hines and Paris, showing the tax program is effectively distributing funds for preservation statewide.
“This highly anticipated announcement was a long time coming,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “After advocating for a statewide historic preservation tax credit program for nearly a decade, Landmarks Illinois is encouraged to see this important incentive is successfully spurring preservation in our state. These projects – many made possible through the help of tax incentives – not only save historic and important places and bring back a sense of pride to many neighborhoods, but create jobs and stimulate local economies.”
Landmarks Illinois has been deeply involved in two of the four projects to receive the first round of tax credits. The Cook County Hospital Administration Building rehabilitation project is set to receive $3 million in historic tax credits from the state. Landmarks Illinois spent nearly 20 years advocating for preservation and reuse of this long-vacant historic, Beaux-Arts building. Another tax credit project, the Hotel Bellville, was included on LI’s Most Endangered Historic Places in 2014. Ever since, Landmarks Illinois has been working with local advocates in Belleville to prevent demolition of, and find a reuse solution for, the 1931 building that stands as a prominent landmark in the community.
“Another insight gleaned from today’s announcement is that all four projects that will receive historic tax credits are formerly government-owned properties,” said McDonald. “Thus, the program is fulfilling one of its intentions – incenting the private market to revitalize vacant or underutilized public assets.”
The SHTC provides a state income-tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures, not to exceed $3 million, to qualifying rehabilitation projects on National Register-listed buildings in Illinois. The program is administered through the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation into law creating the SHTC program in July 2018. Peoria State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth and Rockford-area State Sen. Steve Stadelman led the legislative effort.
“We thank the Illinois General Assembly and former Governor Rauner for enacting this vital and effective incentive to spark private investment in our state’s historic places, which will once again be community assets,” said McDonald.
Landmarks Illinois attended the state’s required workshop June 5, 2019, in Springfield for those who applied for the first round of funding through the program. More than 40 people attended the workshop representing 28 projects. Twenty-four of those projects were deemed eligible for historic tax credits.
“Of the 24 eligible applicants, only four received an allocation due to the cap on both the program and individual projects,” McDonald noted. “Nearly $38 million in requested allocations went unfunded. This represents $262 million in private investment that may not move forward, since the SHTC is meant to close the financial gap on the most difficult, but worthwhile, projects. Uncapping the SHTC program would unlock the exponential job growth and income, sales and property taxes leveraged through this incentive. Landmarks Illinois supports a future move to uncap the SHTC program during or after the program’s five-year pilot phase.”
Landmarks Illinois is also calling attention to the SHTC through this year’s Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. AIA’s former Executive Vice President Mike Waldinger, the AIA Illinois Board and volunteer lobbyists were recently named recipients of a 2019 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Advocacy for their incredible efforts helping to pass legislation that created the tax incentive program. AIA representatives and other 2019 award recipients will be honored at a ceremony October 18, 2019, at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Stay up to date with the Illinois State Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program by visiting Landmarks Illinois’ State Legislative Issues webpage and by visiting the SHPO website. The state will hold its next historic tax credit workshop on September 25, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. at Foundation Hall (Level 2) of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, for the second round of funding applicants.