Ad Spot

Future of state’s historic tax credit program still up in air

The future of the Minnesota Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which proponents say has strengthened economic development opportunities to revitalize historic buildings, remains in question with a little over a month remaining in the legislative session.
Erin Hanafin Berg, policy director at Rethos, formerly known as the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, said the House omnibus bill recently released included an eight-year extension on the program. It is unknown at this point what will happen in the Senate as it has not yet released its omnibus bill.
The program, which offers a 20% state tax credit on qualified rehabilitation expenditures for buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, was originally created as a bipartisan initiative in response to job losses sustained during the Great Recession and was initially created with a five-year sunset date. The state tax credit parallels an existing federal rehabilitation tax credit program that has existed since the 1980s. Projects have to go through an application process with the State Historic Preservation Office before work begins.
To qualify for the state tax credit, the property has to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, be an income-producing property and have substantial rehabilitation, all of which needs to be approved at the State Historic Preservation Office.
Hanafin Berg said her office has been working diligently on the extension for a few years now and if not for the pandemic, they had hoped it would have been extended last year. Now they are coming up to a crunch as all aspects of the tax credit program will need to be approved by June or some projects could be in jeopardy. She said she has had architects approach her concerned about the timing.
She said the tax credit program preserves irreplaceable structures and creates economic opportunities in communities through jobs — not only in the renovation process but in the entrepreneurial projects that come out of the renovations. The program has generated over $3.5 billion in economic activity and over 18,000 jobs since 2011, she said.
She talked about how critical the program is, particularly during the pandemic recovery.
“These will be the kinds of things that are drawing people to spend time there,” Hanafin Berg said of the projects that come out of the renovations.
She said there has also been a proposal she is excited about on the federal level that would allow for additional flexibility in the program for smaller projects, in particular. It includes a temporary boost in the value of the credits from 20% to 30% for four years and a permanent boost to 30% for projects that are less than $2.5 million in qualified rehabilitation expenses, which she said includes a majority of the projects that take place in Minnesota.
“The entire goal would make it easier for smaller projects to happen,” she said, noting it would also open up the kinds of projects that could qualify. “It could make a huge difference throughout all of Minnesota.”
Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg said the tax credits are a great incentive for developers but he would like more flexibility with the program, particularly for smaller communities, to allow for more use of the program. He said if the credits are too difficult to achieve, they may put a damper on investors’ ability to restore and preserve a building.
In Albert Lea, the historic tax credit program is presently part of a proposal to turn 131 and 137 E. Clark St. — known historically as the Rasmus Jensen Building and the Danish Brotherhood Society Lodge 75 — into 20 loft-style apartment units.

Hayfield Vikings

On a quest: Vikings pound out opening round win against Adrian-Ellsworth

Brownsdale

Rural Brownsdale barn damaged in Sunday fire

News

Minnesota lawmakers convene special session to finish budget

Mower County

Iowa man injured in Saturday motorcycle accident

News

Ex Scientia Tridens: AHS graduate Riley Haugen to attend U.S. Naval Academy

Mower County

Join Jamming at the Mansion 3rd Thursday of June, July, August

News

Teen who recorded Floyd’s arrest, death wins Pulitzer nod

News

Minnesota State Fair set to return in August

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Austin man sentenced to prison for drugs, firearm charges

Mower County

Club news: Duplicate Bridge

Agriculture

Breakfast on the Farm to be held June 19

Mower County

I-90 ramp repaving extends detour

Mower County

UPDATE: Austin man charged for alleged involvement in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Police looking for help after receiving numerous property damage reports

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Northeast Austin home damaged in Thursday afternoon blaze

Mower County

Walz, leaders, seek budget breakthroughs as Capitol reopens

Hayfield Vikings

23 straight and off to state: Vikings win Section 1A title

News

Another jump in prices tightens the squeeze on US consumers

News

Take a Kid Fishing Weekend runs June 11-13

Business

Lemondrops to host art show this weekend

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Shooting suspect charged with three counts of murder

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Austin garage fire under investigation

Local Government

Council holds public hearing on potential cable franchise

Local Government

Board OK’s payoff of bond on Jail and Justice Center