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  • Saturday, January 28, 2017
    Tax credit workshop set for owners of historic buildings
    Main Street Brenham will be hosting a series of workshops in 2017 for downtown property and business owners, with the first workshop covering a new program that allows property owners to take tax credits for rehabilitations to historic properties.
    It will be held Thursday, Feb. 2, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation at 6 p.m. in the Hasskarl Auditorium at The Barnhill Center at Historic Simon Theatre.

    “Although some of the workshops this year will be directed primarily to downtown property and business owners,” said Main Street manager Jennifer Eckermann. “This particular workshop will be of interest to any historic property owner in the community who owns a property with the potential of commercial uses.
    “If your historic building needs repairs, pricey maintenance work or a cosmetic makeover or if you want to better understand how to help finance any future projects, you’ll want to attend this workshop.”
    Caroline Wright, tax credit specialist with the Texas Historical Commission, will present information on the Texas historic preservation tax credit of 25 percent, and the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit of 20 percent. Each assists commercial and non-profit owners of historic buildings in funding rehabilitation projects. The presentation will cover the basics of both programs, including qualifications for participation and requirements for historic designation and architectural work.
    “In the first two years of the Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the Texas Historical Commission has reviewed plans for 135 proposed projects, with estimated construction costs of $1.7 billion,” said Wright.
    “All economic studies of similar tax credit programs have shown that they bring significant investment to the state and the local communities in which there are projects.”
    The state tax credits are easier for many small business owners to take advantage of and allow property owners to use the program to assistant funding maintenance projects as well as full-building rehabs.
    Wright said that they’ve reviewed a number of applications for roof replacements, and interior upgrades, which are important for the continued use and operation of a building. Proposed projects have ranged in cost from $5,300 to $180 million in other cities.
    “The rehabilitation of the historic Simon Theater into The Barnhill Center — a downtown conference and event center — would not have been possible without this great new tax credit program,” said Hal Moorman, chair of the non-profit that took on the decade-long project.
    “Because of the flexibility built into the state program as a non-profit we were easily able to partner with a Texas corporation to help make this happen for our community.”
    Wright said that the Simon renovation represents how a small town project can be done well, with local leaders and talent, and shows the results that can be achieved with thoughtful planning, attention to details, and commitment to the success of the project.

    Source: Brenham Banner-Press