Historic Tax Credits News Briefs - October 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

The ruling on Historic Boardwalk Hall LLC (HBH) v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, rendering the project’s equity investor unqualified to receive federal historic tax credits (HTCs). The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) had partnered with investor Pitney Bowes Inc. to form Historic Boardwalk Hall LLC so they could apply for HTCs and rehabilitate the historic East Hall convention center in Atlantic City, N.J. The appeals court reversed the initial 2011 court ruling because it found that Pitney was not a bona fide partner in the development, citing its lack of a meaningful stake in the project’s success or failure. Read more about the ruling’s implications on pages 58, 62 and 73.

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The Woodward Opera House, a 19th century theater in Mount Vernon, Ohio, has received more than $7 million in state and federal tax credits to go toward its restoration. Headed by the Woodward Development Corporation, the multimillion dollar restoration will entail a complete interior and exterior overhaul to create usable spaces in the building. The rehabilitated property will include offices, leasable retail space, a performing arts venue, meeting facilities and an artisan cooperative. The opera house was originally built in 1850 and expanded to its current form in 1883. The venue featured popular plays, concerts, lectures and vaudeville shows until it was abandoned in favor of a newer neighboring theater in the early 1920s. The theater is one of 11 establishments that has been selected nationally to receive two Save America’s Treasures grants, which are reserved for projects with national historic significance.

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Technical Preservation Services (TPS), which administers the HTC program, has announced its commitment to the National Park Service’s (NPS’s) Call to Action. In anticipation of its 100th anniversary in 2016, NPS has established the Call to Action plan as a way for employees and partners to strategize concrete contributions to the organization’s overall mission. TPS is committed to “Preserving America’s Special Places,” one of Call to Action’s four goal themes.

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The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) has awarded more than $2.7 million in matching grants to 63 heritage tourism organizations in the state. Recipients include museums, parks, chambers of commerce and Civil War battlefields. The MHAA oversees the state’s 12 state-certified Heritage Areas, historically and culturally significant regions that highlight unique history and traditional ways of life. Since its establishment in 1996, the MHAA has awarded approximately $26.7 million and has leveraged an additional $84.4 million in non-state funds for Maryland’s heritage tourism projects.

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The New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places has added six properties to its list. The newest additions are Roller Shed in Freedom; Langdon Town Hall and Meeting House in Langdon; Jackson Road Railroad Trestle in Mason; and Woodbury House, J.P. Washburn House and the North Enfield Universalist Meeting House in Enfield. Benefits of being listed on the state register of historic places include acknowledgement of historical significance in the community, special consideration from certain building codes and regulations, and an official historical designation that may help the property prequalify for grant programs.

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West Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Office is now accepting applications for round two of its historic preservation development grants. The state has approximately $250,000 in grant awards available, subject to funds appropriated by the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Eligible applicants include those listed in the National Register of Historic Places that will undergo restoration, rehabilitation or archaeological development. Properties that serve exclusively religious purposes are ineligible to apply, as are governmental properties inaccessible to the public. Privately owned properties are only eligible if it can be demonstrated that there is public support or public benefit attached to the project.

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