Reintroduction of the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act Supports the Reuse of Historic and Older Buildings
Making Incentives Work Better
The Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is one of the nation's most successful incentives for the rehabilitation of older and historic buildings. Learn more about our proposed changes through the reintroduction of the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act.
Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), along with Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Pat Tiberi (R-OH), will reintroduce the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act, a bill that would make beneficial changes to the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit and provide a greater incentive for the reuse of older and historic buildings. It would also encourage building owners to achieve substantial energy savings in building rehabilitations with graduated increases in the historic tax credit based on the level of efficiency achieved.
The measure is a redrafted version of the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act (H.R. 1043 and S 584), which was introduced in the last Congress.
The historic tax credit is one of the nation's most successful incentives for the rehabilitation of older and historic buildings. Over the last 32 years, it has been extremely successful in attracting capital to historic areas in cities and towns throughout the country, generating over 67,000 jobs, strengthening property values, and creating affordable places to live. The credit is responsible for developing more than 35,600 projects nationwide, leveraging over $50 billion in private investment – a record $5.6 billion last year alone. It is a powerful economic development and reinvestment catalyst that – with the changes outlined in the bill – would have even greater potential to revitalize America's urban and rural areas.
One of the key provisions of the reintroduced bill would place greater emphasis on achieving energy savings in building rehabilitations through greater use of energy-efficient materials, systems, and appliances. In addition, the measure as a whole would increase the tax credit's value as an incentive, and reusing older and historic buildings is inherently sustainable. Forty-three percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States comes from the operation of buildings. They are the source of 72% of all electricity consumption in America. The reuse, recycling, and preservation of older and historic buildings in and of itself conserves the energy expended to construct them and reduces the use of additional energy and natural resources required by new construction. Over the past ten years alone, the historic tax credit has rehabilitated over 217 million square feet of commercial and residential space. It can do more, however. Over 1.3 million historic buildings are listed in or contribute to historic districts in the National Register of Historic Places, with thousands of contributing resources added each year. The National Park Service estimates that 20% of these buildings would qualify for the historic tax credit.
The 110th Congress passed the Housing Recovery Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President Bush on July 30, 2008. Public Law 110-289 includes one of the proposed amendments to the federal rehabilitation tax credit included in the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act affecting the leasing of historic properties to nonprofits. The new provision provides an increase from 35% to 50% in the percentage of tax-exempt activity allowable in the sale/leaseback of tax credit projects. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and its partners plan to push for the remaining package of amendments included in H.R. 1043/S. 584 when the 111th Congress convenes next year.