The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program encourages private sector investment in the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings. It is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective community revitalization programs, and the largest such program specifically supporting historic preservation. Administered by the National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Services (TPS) office and the Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Offices, the program has leveraged over $66 billion in private investment to preserve over 38,700 historic properties from 1976 to 2012.
The program has been used to rehabilitate historic buildings in communities both large and small across the nation, not only renowned works of architecture but also those places important to our shared cultural past and that tell the stories of America’s diverse national identify. In support of A Call to Action: Action 1, “Filling in the Blanks,” the National Park Service encourages efforts to preserve and protect the places and sites that fully reflect our nation’s heritage.
Examples of the many buildings that represent this diverse history and have been rehabilitated and preserved using the historic tax credits are the Boyle Hotel in Los Angeles, California, and the Woodmen of the Union Building in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The c. 1889 Boyle Hotel in Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood is a historic point-of-entry neighborhood for successive waves of immigrant groups in the city’s history. The building is closely associated with the local history of mariachi music, a folk musical tradition from Mexico, and it has been rehabilitated into 51 units of affordable housing as well as a mariachi cultural center and rehearsal rooms.
The Woodmen of the Union Building was designed by noted Tuskegee Institute architect W. T. Bailey and built to provide first-class hotel accommodations and a bathhouse fed by the local hot springs specifically for African Americans. In its heyday it attracted well-known entertainers, sports and political figures, such as Count Basie and Joe Louis. The building has been rehabilitated as low-income housing for seniors.
More detailed information and photos for each of the projects can be found using the links provided above. Additional information about the tax credit program is available at http://www.nps.gov/tps/tax-incentives.htm.