River Edge Historic Tax Credit Extended

A Message from Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald

Dec. 1, 2016

A bill to extend Illinois pilot State Historic Tax Credit has passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly as of Dec. 1, 2016, and is on its way to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk for his signature. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, and other legislators from four of the five pilot program cities of Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford, the one-year extension of Illinois’ River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) pilot State Historic Tax Credit (SHTC) was included in SB1488 (Amendment 003). This important legislation preserves the original language of the bill, including maintaining the five-city eligibility, but extends the program sunset date to Jan. 1, 2018.

The bill passed the Illinois House on Nov. 30 by an overwhelming majority of 110-1. A day later, on Dec. 1, the Illinois Senate articulated its support of this successful program with a 53-1 vote.

While we do not have a set timeline for when the bill will land on Gov. Rauner’s desk to sign into law, we speculate the bill has the governor’s backing, especially with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) logging its support.

The Assembly’s extension of the RERZ SHTC during this Veto Session was imperative. The original SHTC program, passed in 2010, set forth a program sunset date of Dec. 31, 2016. With just 30 days left in the program, any SHTC project underway would have had to be completed by year-end to claim the credit. Some 14 projects have already been completed because of this imperative incentive, a but, for to generate private investment in these adaptive reuse projects. Seventeen projects are still underway representing over $180 million in private investment and creating more than 380 temporary and permanent jobs. A sunset of the SHTC would have been disastrous, putting any ongoing and future projects at risk.

Landmarks Illinois has been proud to be a part of the SHTC advocacy team since the first pilot project, the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria, was passed in 2009. Since then, we have joined with local advocates, elected officials and city staff, nonprofit partners, including AIA Illinois, and lobbyists to extend the program sunset. Our work has included providing two program economic impact studies, hosting eight regional SHTC workshops with IHPA, meeting with legislators, testifying in Springfield, writing letters of support and news pieces and providing talking points to bill sponsors. Landmarks Illinois celebrates this important win with all of those who worked on the legislative campaign and we look forward to seeing the work this incentive makes possible come to fruition to benefit Illinois communities.

(Photo credit: River Edge Historic Tax Credit)

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