New Research Confirms Historic Tax Credit’s Economic Impact in African-American Neighborhoods

New research released today shows that a federal program facing elimination by Congress has helped revitalize African-American neighborhoods across the country, while preserving places vital to America’s history.

The Federal Historic Tax Credit Projects in Predominantly African-American Neighborhoods study revealed that historic rehabilitation projects located in sections of Atlanta, New York, Cleveland, Chicago and Charleston have generated more than 8,500 jobs, attracted $571 million in private investment and restored 78 historic buildings. None of these projects would have been financially feasible without the federal historic tax credit.  The research will be officially announced at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference today in Washington, D.C.

Produced by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the report demonstrates the credit’s role as a cost-efficient catalyst for economic development.  In Cleveland alone, $28 million in historic tax credits enabled projects totaling $166.8 million. These numbers show the power of the credit with every $1 of taxpayer money attracting $6 in private investment. 

The report showcases specific projects where the restoration of a historic building created important community benefits. In Chicago, for example, the $50 million rehabilitation of the “Power House”— part of the industrial headquarters of the Sears, Roebuck and Company—created a state-of-the-art public charter school that serves 250 9th and 10th grade students. Original elements of the Power House have been retained and incorporated into the technology curriculum. This will allow the students and educators to have a rich historic environment in which to learn and teach. 

This is the second study to be released within a month that sheds light on the positive impact of the HTC.  In late July, Rutgers University and the National Park Service released the Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit for FY 2012.  It revealed that, nationally, the HTC has created 2.3 million jobs, attracted $106 billion in private investment and restored 38,700 historic buildings since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago. 

 “We have long believed that the HTC brought this type to investment in underserved communities, but until now, there was no data to support this claim,” said John Leith-Tetrault, president of the National Trust Community Investment Corporation. “This study just adds to our evidence that the HTC is the nation’s most effective community revitalizing federal investment, and it must be protected.”

“This research shows that the historic tax credit is an important tool for preserving the historic fabric of our nation’s African-American communities, while also generating vital economic development,” said Tanya Bowers, director for diversity at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “We would love to see the historic tax credit applied in even more places, to ensure the continued preservation and revitalization of these historic neighborhoods.”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is engaged with its industry partner, the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, and other national, state and local preservation groups to help raise awareness of the importance of the historic tax credit to America’s economy and quality of life. More information may be found at


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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces