Press Release

February 6, 2012
Bill Would Increase Number of Restoration Projects and Reward Energy-Efficient Improvements

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would create jobs in Maryland and the nation through the restoration of historic buildings.  Senator Cardin unveiled the legislation at Baltimore’s historic Clifton Mansion, once the summer home of Johns Hopkins and now the headquarters for the AmeriCorps program Civic Works.  U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is co-sponsoring the bill.

 “I am extremely proud of this bill because it will help ensure that historic properties are restored and made useful once again, while creating jobs that will stimulate greater economic activity,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee.  “The Historic Tax Credit has created some 2 million jobs nationwide since 1978 and by expanding the program to include energy-efficient improvements and additional restoration projects, we can create thousands of new jobs in renovating historic properties.”

“The federal Historic Tax Credit program is a great instrument for renovating historic buildings such as the Clifton Mansion.  Senator Cardin’s legislation will expand the impact of the tax credit to many more historic properties,” said Dana Stein, Executive Director of Civic Works.

“The federal historic tax credit has proven to be a cost-effective creator of jobs and economic activity for more than thirty years,” said Tom Cassidy, vice president of Government Relations and Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The CAPP Act will ensure that, in the future, more “Main Street” communities can benefit from its revitalization effects, and nonprofit organizations can more easily access the credit to bring jobs and services to disinvested areas.”

Congress created historic preservation tax benefits in 1976 to encourage voluntary, private-sector investment in preserving historic buildings. The program is jointly managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices.

Since their creation, these tax incentives have leveraged more than $90 billion of private-sector investment ($5 of private investment for every $1 of HTC) to preserve and rehabilitate more than 37,000 historic properties, including the creation of over 185,000 housing units, of which more than 75,000 are low and moderate-income units.  In the process, such historic preservation programs have created more than 2 million jobs nationwide since 1978.  In Maryland, the tax credit created more than 18,700 jobs from 2001 to 2011.

In Maryland, $228 million in federal historic tax credits have leveraged $1.1 billion in rehabilitation expenditures on 352 projects since 2001. Some of these projects include:

  • CASA de Maryland in Langley Park, which received $1.4 million in federal HTC equity (out of a total funding cost of $10 million). 
  • The American Brewery Building in Baltimore, a $24 million development that received $5.3 million in HTC and New Market Tax Credit.  The rehabilitation of the building created 157 construction jobs and 175 permanent jobs.
  • Clifton Mansion, headquarters of the AmeriCorps program Civic Works, will be using $1.1 million in federal HTCs as it undergoes a $7 million renovation.

The Creating American Prosperity Through Preservation (CAPP) Act would:

  • Help smaller projects by increasing the credit from 20 percent to 30 percent for projects with $5 million or less in Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures.  The increase in the credit amount will aid the financing for rehabilitation of small buildings and buildings in rural areas.
  • Index the date for the 10 percent credit for non-historic older buildings so more are eligible for rehabilitation.
  • Support the 30 states that have enacted state historic tax credits to encourage the development of historic properties by eliminating the federal taxation of the proceeds of state credits transferred through partnerships and sold as state tax certificates.
  • Promote energy-efficiency and operating cost-savings by encouraging developers to use energy-efficient technology.
  • Facilitate the reuse of older buildings by nonprofits, creating projects with high community benefit, while also stimulating on-going job and economic growth in low-income, underserved areas.

To qualify for the HTC, properties must be income-producing and must be rehabilitated according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior.  Currently, the HTC provides 20-percent credit for the rehabilitation of a certified historic structure, plus 10 percent credit for older, non-historic buildings first placed into service before 1936.

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