House bill partially restores historic preservation credits

RALEIGH — A bill that restores a reduced version of North Carolina’s historic preservation tax credits is in keeping with last year’s tax overhaul that did away with the credits, House members said Tuesday as they pressed senators to approve the new legislation.

“The historic tax credit, in my opinion, is one of the really great things the state has done,” GOP House Speaker Tim Moore said at a news conference where he was flanked by House members and Susan Kluttz, secretary of the state Department of Cultural Resources. “It’s a program that works.”

The House last week overwhelmingly approved a smaller version of the original tax credits. In this year’s bill, a 30 percent residential credit is reduced to 15 percent. The base credit rate for income-producing commercial properties is reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent. The bill also includes caps and other limits that the original program didn’t have.

Since 1998, more than 2,400 historic tax credit projects have been completed statewide, bringing over $1.6 billion of private investment to the state, said Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Alamance. A nonpartisan study by the legislature’s fiscal research division found the tax credit would attract 2.5 times more jobs at the same cost to the state treasury as an equivalent across-the-board tax reduction, he said.

Ninety of the state’s 100 counties have used the credit.

The program outlined in the new bill “is entirely consistent with our desire to create jobs and to foster greater economic development across the state,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett.

Moore said he hopes the bill “will have smooth sailing” in the Senate. A spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said he “remains concerned about creating a new tax credit that benefits a narrow group of people, but he respects the process and will listen to the arguments his colleagues in the House are putting forward.”

The Senate referred the bill Monday to a committee that has rarely met in the past, then scheduled a meeting of that committee for today. The credits are on the agenda, as is a bill to establish an independent redistricting commission, which has little support.

Lewis acknowledged that the House hasn’t “been able to fully sell the idea of how this is compatible” with the tax overhaul and economic growth. “We’re just beginning that process,” he said. “We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to do that.”

The tax credit lets people save buildings that tell North Carolina’s story, Kluttz said. “… This is our history, and North Carolina just can’t be quiet about it,” she said. “This tells a beautiful story.”

The credits also are critical to the state’s economy, she said. “The governor continues to say he can’t sell our towns unless the downtowns are vibrant and alive and show we care about cities and towns.”

(Story via the Associated Press, 4/1/2015)

A piece of Cleveland County history will be sold at auction this month.

The historic Double Shoals Mill at 110 Moss Road in the Double Shoals Community of Shelby will be auctioned off at 1 p.m. April 25.

The community is invited to visit the mill on Wednesday (April 1) from 1-3 p.m., said Jason Dolph, an auctioneer with Charlotte-based auction firm, Modern Brokerage LLC.

“Everyone is welcome to come and tour the property,” Dolph said. “It is really beautiful out there. The river frontage is a big plus.”

Built in 1892

The mill was originally built in 1892 by E.A. Morgan and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 14.7 acre site features 1,478 feet of First Broad River frontage, just six miles north of Shelby.

The Double Shoals Mill was primarily used as a textile mill in the 1890s and throughout most of the 20th century. It was last used 1-1/2 years ago as a warehouse facility.

The mill contains a vast array of architectural materials including heart pine and steel posts, maple floors, and hand-pounded brick. The owner estimates these vintage materials alone to have a market value of more than $200,000.

(The Shelby Star, 3/31/2015)

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RALEIGH–A bipartisan group of House members pushed their version of a new historic tax credit Tuesday, saying it would boost economic development and provide jobs.

Their bill, passed overwhelmingly last week by the House, came a day after the Senate relegated the House bill to a committee that seldom meets. The Senate, meanwhile, was poised to consider a competing bill that would put historic tax credits in the hands of local governments, not the state.

Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz joined Speaker Tim Moore and other House members at a news conference extolling the credits.

“It’s truly critical for our economic recovery,” Kluttz told reporters.

The old historic tax credits expired Jan. 1. State officials say they leveraged nearly $1.5 billion in private investments in North Carolina since 1998, including the conversion of several Charlotte textile mills.

The proposed new credits differ in several ways. On residential projects, for example, applicants could get a 30 percent credit under the old plan. The most they could get under the new plan is 15 percent.

Like other House members, Moore lauded the tax credits as a way to renovate not only buildings but entire towns.

(The Charlotte Observer, 3/31/2015)

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The House bill that passed Thursday seeking to revive North Carolina’s historic preservation tax credit looks a lot different than the state tax credit law that real estate developers had been used to.

But it’s better than nothing, supporters say.

State lawmakers in the General Assembly had let the state’s previous historic tax credit provision that had been in use since 1998 to sunset on Jan. 1.

That law allowed a 20 percent rebate on the construction expenses of a historic building against an owner’s annual state franchise or income taxes. If it was a historic mill or vacant agriculture warehouse, they could be allowed a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the construction expenses.

(Triangle Business Journal, 3/31/2015)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The House speaker and the secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources will discuss a bill to partially restore the historic preservation tax credit.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz will be joined by four other House members at a news conference Tuesday at the Legislature.

The House passed the bill last week, and the Senate referred it to a committee on Monday.

Previously, the state offered a 30 percent state tax credit for rehabilitating historic structures. The House bill would offer a 15 percent tax credit for up to $10 million in qualified expenditures, and a 10 percent tax credit for between $10 million and $20 million in qualified expenditures.

The credits expired Jan. 1. Some powerful senators have opposed tax credits of any kind.

(Story via the Associated Press, 3/31/2015)

DURHAM–After 40 years’ operation, Preservation Durham is rethinking what it does, and inviting the public to join in.

“We have 40 years’ worth of programs that we run,” executive director Wendy Hillis said. “Part of this came out of … starting to question how they support our mission and, better yet, what real needs are they addressing and what benefits are they creating?”

So the organization has engaged Raleigh preservation consultant Mary Ruffin Hanbury to conduct a “needs assessment.” Her client list includes the Historic Savannah Foundation, the Baltimore National Heritage Area and the New Jersey Heritage Tourism Commission.

Assessment plans include four “community listening meetings” in April and May and is taking an online survey (

(News & Observer, 3/30/2015)

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DURHAM–The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named the childhood home of attorney, priest and civil-rights activist Pauli Murray a National Treasure.

With the designation, the National Trust is taking an active role in restoring the 1898 house on Carroll Street in Durham’s West End neighborhood, said Jessica Pumphrey, a spokeswoman for the organization.

“It’s … our call to action,” she said. “We take more of a hands-on approach to preservation.”

The recognition “helps us make a national case for the refurbishing of the property, bringing it online for visitors,” said Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center.

(News & Observer, 3/26/2015)

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The restoration of popular and effective historic preservation tax credits just passed an important hurdle, but their ultimate fate is still up in the air.

Last week, the state House passed a bipartisan compromise bill to reinstate the credits, the Journal’s Richard Craver reported. But the restoration still has to be approved by the state Senate, where it faces a much harder path.

Winston-Salem is among communities across the state that have benefitted from the tax credits. They’ve played a major role in downtown revitalization. They’ve been used to revive structures and facilities with historical and architectural significance, such as Wake Forest BioTech Place, the Nissen Building, Piedmont Leaf Lofts and the old Courthouse downtown.

The tax credits have created thousands of jobs and generated millions in community investment. Projects that otherwise wouldn’t be undertaken have become viable because of the tax credits, and the results are longer lasting and more cost-effective than demolish-and-replace projects built without the credits.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/29/2015)

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A bill filed late Thursday by three Republican N.C. senators would put the 308-acre Dorothea Dix property up for bid – likely revoking a deal reached between Raleigh leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory to create a park.

Senate Bill 705 calls for ensuring “the fair sale” of the former psychiatric hospital campus by using the state’s standard procedure for surplus property. Bidding would start at $52 million – the amount Raleigh had agreed to pay after months of negotiations with the McCrory administration.

The bill is sponsored by senators Ralph Hise, Louis Pate and Tommy Tucker – the same trio who sponsored the bill two years ago that revoked Raleigh’s original lease on the property, which had been signed by outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.

Tucker, a Waxhaw Republican, said Thursday evening that the price tag negotiated by McCrory isn’t a good deal for the state.

“I just believe that the property is worth more than we’re being offered,” Tucker said. “It’s a big piece of property in the middle of a metropolitan city.”

He said the state will likely spend $100 million to build a new headquarters for the Department of Health and Human Services, which currently occupies part of the Dix site.

(News & Observer, 3/26/2014)

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When we think of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” the words that go with the recycling symbol, I am overwhelmed with “reuse” of the Loray Mill, certainly that word to the extreme.

Just this past Thursday, Governor Pat McCrory was on hand for the grand opening of this building. Charlotte has had many buildings refurbished into upscale living and commercial properties. Gaston County has had a few, Belmont is in process of another mill, but this mill is the Granddaddy of all mills.

Built in 1900-1 and opened in 1902, this mill was the largest ever constructed under one roof and by 1905 used 60,000 spindles, nearly three times that of any other mill in Gaston County.

Many families were recruited from the mountains and Piedmont of North and South Carolina as well as the mountains of Tennessee. Families were important because legally, children as young as 13 could work in mills, so each family unit could supply multiple employees.

(Gaston Gazette, 3/27/2015)

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One of the most foolish “tax reform” efforts of Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly was the abolition of historic preservation tax credits. The credits expired at the start of this year after years of successful use in towns and cities all across North Carolina.

Gov. Pat McCrory rightly made restoring the credits, which basically offer tax incentives to people who restore old homes and buildings with historic value and significance, a priority of his administration. Unfortunately, despite crystal clear evidence that the credits not only improve main streets across North Carolina but create jobs, the governor’s push hasn’t done much good so far.

A conservative estimate of the benefits of the tax credits is that they’ve generated 2.5 times as many jobs as an across-the-board tax cut worth the same amount would create. More than $1.5 billion in private investment has been made because of the tax credits.

And more than 2,400 projects in the last 16 years have been made possible by the credits, among them no less than the American Tobacco campus in Durham.

The governor is doing his part. Susan Kluttz, secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources, is going all over the state touting the value of the tax credits in towns and cities where they have been put to good use.

This is something that has helped communities of all sizes, whether a cotton mill in Rocky Mount becomes a brewery or an old building on a small-town main street is saved as a local business or a home destined for demolition becomes … a home.

It is not, in other words, an urban issue or a rural issue or a Democratic issue or a Republican issue.

The historic tax credits fell, apparently, because of a GOP scorched Earth attitude toward all taxes as Republicans took over control of the legislature and commenced to “reform” the tax system, which meant in their minds cutting things to help the most wealthy citizens and big business. The historic tax credit program seems to have been a victim of reform that looked at most such breaks as unnecessary, as something that simply didn’t deliver a return on the state’s investment.

But this program has delivered, and then some, in private investment and jobs. Now the House has passed a bill that would restore credits, although in a scaled-down way. There is questionable support for it in the Senate. But the truth is, it would be better to put the program back in place as it was. And as it worked.

Unfortunately, all things connected to the governor seem to be tainted as far as the state Senate goes, where it’s been amateur hour on tax reform and where Phil Berger, president pro-tem, would prefer that the governor mind his own business and allow lawmakers to proceed with their narrow-minded agenda.

That appears to be the case no matter how strong a case McCrory makes for the credits. After one bus tour to promote the tax credit, the governor even noted that historic tax credits “were initially started by Ronald Reagan. It is the most conservative philosophy that you can promote, and that is to encourage private sector investment through lower taxes.”

The governor isn’t holding back, and he shouldn’t. But this program shouldn’t need such a push. It has worked. It will work. The proof is there.

(Editorial in the News & Observer, 3/27/2015)


Martin Willard was well ahead of his time, bringing hybrid gas and electric technology to Wilmington more than 100 years ago. Of course, the application was slightly different, used to light his home at 520 Orange St. rather than power an automobile.

Originally built in 1851 and known today as the MacRae-Willard House, the property was expanded by Willard in 1896, and the combination gas-electric fixtures he installed remain functional, possibly the sole remaining example in the city. Just don’t ask the current owners, Landon and Connie Anderson, to try and read a book by their glow. “We turn them on for parties. They don’t provide much light,” Landon said with a laugh. “It’s like burning a candle.”

(Star News, 3/27/2015)

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N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz visited Morganton Wednesday continuing her and Governor Pat McCrory’s push to restore the state’s historic preservation tax credits program. Kluttz is asking North Carolinians to sign a petition supporting the program and to call their state senators and representatives as well and voice their support.

Kluttz discussed the renovation of the old Premier Hosiery Mill into the Morganton Trading Company, which was completed in 2007; the restoration of 100-108 N. Sterling St. that originally housed Spake’s Drug Store and is now Benjamin’s, completed in 2011; and the current redevelopment of the old Drexel Plant #7, a.k.a. Alpine Mill.

Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen said that historic tax credits program has provided needed incentives for several projects in Morganton, and he said local leaders need to work to get the program restored.

(WHKY, 3/26/2015)

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GASTONIA–Gov. Pat McCrory basked Thursday evening before Gaston County business owners and civic leaders just hours after a measure he’s pushed that would offer tax credits to property owners who preserve historic buildings passed in the N.C. House.

McCrory, who is running for re-election in 2016, said reviving the state’s historic preservation tax credits will help revive North Carolina’s main streets and town centers.

“I’m proud of mill towns,” he said at the Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual celebration inside the historic Loray Mill. “Right here is a role model of how we can spread this to every county and town in North Carolina.”

The tax credits expired Dec. 31, spurring McCrory and Susan Kluttz, his cultural resources secretary, to launch a statewide tour in which they urged supporters to push their senators to vote for a renewed tax proposal.

“The citizens of North Carolina cannot be silent about this,” Kluttz said Thursday. “This is too important. This is the history of North Carolina, and we’re sitting in it right here today.”

(The Charlotte Observer, 3/26/2015)

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A bill that would restore state historic preservation tax credits was approved Thursday by the full House following the defeat of three amendments that could have diluted the attractiveness of those credits.

House Bill 152 was approved on its final reading by a 98-15 vote on the heels of a 96-18 vote on second reading Wednesday.

Passage had been expected since the legislation had 65 primary and co-sponsors — more than half of the 120 House legislators.

The bill goes to the Senate, where it likely faces an uphill battle for passage. Senate Bill 287, a companion bill introduced March 12, was referred Monday to the Senate Finance committee.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/26/2015)

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Historic Salisbury Foundation will accept nominations through April 3 for its annual Historic Preservation Awards.

The awards recognize individuals, companies and projects demonstrating excellence in historic preservation of Rowan County that have been completed within the past three years.

Award categories include commercial revitalization, private preservation, neighborhood revitalization, long-time preservation leaders, the advancement of historic preservation education to the public, publication of scholarly works (on history, genealogy, historic architecture or historic preservation), preservation craftsmen or professionals, and volunteers.

(Salisbury Post, 3/27/2015)

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Photographs of rural North Carolina homesteads are the focus of a new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History. The 46 pictures by Scott Garlock of Warren County show his passion for abandoned historic buildings in eastern and northeastern North Carolina.

“Rural Revival: Photographs of Home and Preservation of Place” will be on view through Sept. 27. It is presented in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office, Preservation North Carolina and the Historic Preservation Technology program at Edgecombe Community College. Admission is free.

“Scott’s photography ignites a spark, a recollection of days long ago,” says Michael Ausbon, decorative arts associate curator at the museum. “He urges us to preserve and protect our past before these structures return to the earth.”

Visitors to “Rural Revival” also will learn about the contributions of the State Historic Preservation Office, Preservation North Carolina and the Historic Preservation Technology program at Edgecombe Community College.

(Carolina Country, April 2015)

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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – A bill to re-establish a Historic Preservation Tax Credit in North Carolina is one vote away from passing the state House, but it might have trouble clearing the Senate. A committee substitute for HB 152 proposes a program similar to the one which GOP leaders allowed to sunset at the end of 2014.

Democrats Rep. Susi Hamilton of New Hanover County and Rep. Ken Waddell of Columbus County, along with Republican Rep. Ted Davis of New Hanover County all signed on as sponsors of the original HB 152, which received approval in the House Finance Committee. Primary sponsors of the original legislation include Republicans Rep. Stephen Ross (Alamance), Rep. Jon Hardister (Guilford), Rep. David R. Lewis (Harnett), and Democrat Rep. Rick Glazier (Cumberland)

The bill proposes a sliding scale of credits into place, pending the amount spend on the rehabilitation of the structure.

Projects with up to $10 million worth of expenses would receive 15 percent federal income tax credit, and projects with expenses between $10-$20 million would receive a 10 percent credit.

To read the text of the bill click here:

(WECT, 3/25/2015)

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The House approved House Bill 152 on a vote of 96-18 Wednesday afternoon.

“There are projects all over the state that have benefited from having this tax credit in place,” said Rep. Jon Hardister, a Guiflord County Republican and a primary sponsor of the bill. “I think it’s fair to say a lot of these projects wouldn’t happen without this tax credit.”

The historic tax credit program has gotten support from the governor down to big and little cities in Guilford County.

The bill was also popular in the House, with more than half of the members signed on as co-sponsors.

(Greensboro News &  Record, 3/25/2015)

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Since 1998, uptown Shelby has been revitalized with new apartments and businesses on Lafayette Street and the surrounding area with help from a state tax credit for historic buildings.

Susan Kluttz, North Carolina Secretary of Cultural Resources, is coming to Shelby Thursday to tour those buildings that utilized the recently-expired tax credits. She will also speak to the public about the importance of providing tax credits in the future.

Tax credits brought economic development

The North Carolina Historic Preservation Tax Credits went into effect in 1998 to create economic opportunity by repurposing old buildings. Before it expired at the end of 2014, the law gave a tax credit to taxpayers who rehabilitated certified historic properties.

“The Historic Tax Credits brought jobs and economic development to rural towns and big cities across North Carolina,” Kluttz said in a news release. “The rebirth of one abandoned downtown building has a ripple effect throughout a community and often sparks a renaissance of development in nearby structures. In addition, these historic buildings and mills are an emotional tie to our heritage and exemplify what makes North Carolina unique. These credits are critical for North Carolina’s economic recovery.”

(Shelby Star, 3/25/2015)

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The N.C. House voted 96-18 Wednesday to reinstate tax credits for historic preservation projects – a program that expired as part of Republican-led tax reform efforts two years ago.

House Bill 152 would create a scaled-back version of the tax credit, which expired at the beginning of the year as part of a Republican-led tax reform effort. The new credits would pay property owners less than the original program, with an expected annual cost to the state of $8 million. The available credit would be larger in the state’s poorest counties.

The program is a major priority for Gov. Pat McCrory, who’s been lobbying for its return across the state.

“This would revive economic development in pretty much every county in North Carolina,” said Rep. Stephen Ross, the Burlington Republican who sponsored the bill. “It creates lots of jobs.”

(News & Observer, 3/25/2015)

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The House finance committee on Tuesday approved plans to restore a tax credit for historic preservation projects, despite a few objections from Republicans.

House Bill 152 would create a scaled-back version of the tax credit, which expired at the beginning of the year as part of a Republican-led tax reform effort. The new credits would pay property owners less than the original program, with an expected annual cost to the state of $8 million. The available credit would be larger in the state’s poorest counties.

Gov. Pat McCrory has made the program a major legislative priority this session.

“This is a huge economic boon for the state of North Carolina, and we can see it in all our communities as we travel around,” said Rep. Stephen Ross, a Burlington Republican and the sponsor of the bill.

Opponents of the program say lower tax rates across the board are a better way to grow the economy. But Ross said a legislative study found that the historic credits have generated 2.5 times as many jobs as an across-the-board tax cut with the same cost.

(News & Observer, 3/24/2015)

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RED SPRINGS — The creation of a local commission may be the best way to restart Red Springs’ efforts to preserve its historic properties, state officials told residents Monday night.

Members of the state Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Historical Resources were in Red Springs this week to offer suggestions about how to get local sites on state or national historic listings.

About 30 people attended the meeting at Town Hall.

Laurie Mitchell,a coordinator with the State Historic Preservation Office, said Red Springs would need to become recognized as a Certified Local Government to create a local historic preservation commission.

“Jointly administered by the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office, local communities work through a certification process to become recognized as a Certified Local Government,” Mitchell said. “All these parties work together to preserve, protect and increase awareness of the historic resources if communities.”

(Red Springs Citizen, 3/24/2015)

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A bipartisan state House bill that would restore historic preservation tax credits – at a lower payout amount – passed its first step today through gaining the recommendation of the Finance committee.

House Bill 152, introduced March 4, goes to the full chamber for discussion and possible vote.

The approval was expected given there are 65 primary and co-sponsors of the bill, more than half of the 120 House legislators.

Also discussed today, but not up for vote, was House Bill 89, a Democratic-sponsored omnibus economic-development bill introduced Feb. 12 that includes tax credits for historic preservation and film production.

Rep. Suzi Hamilton, D-Brunswick, said a bipartisan economic-development bill would be introduced that she believes represents a viable compromise on the fiercely debate issues of incentives and carved-out tax credit exemptions. The proposal bill would remove the Earned Income Tax Credit restoration proposal.

“We’ve been out of economic development for the past 120 days,” Hamilton said. “We need to get past ideology and get North Carolina back in the game with our neighboring states.”

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/24/2015)

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For those wishing to own a piece of North Carolina history, your opportunity will arrive on April 25th at 1:00 PM in Double Shoals, NC. The historic Double Shoals Mill will be sold at auction on-site at 110 Moss Rd., Double Shoals, NC 28150. It will sell to the highest bidder above $295,000. The mill was originally built in 1892 by E. A. Morgan and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 14.7 acre site features 1,478 feet of First Broad River frontage, just six miles north of Shelby. The auction will be conducted on-site by Charlotte-based Auction Firm, Modern Brokerage, LLC, on behalf of the current owners, Masterson, LLC.

The Double Shoals Mill was primarily used as a textile mill in the 1890’s and throughout most of the 20th century. It was last used as a warehouse facility as recently as 1 ½ years ago. The two-story building contains a total of 45,457 square feet, primarily divided into nine warehouse/manufacturing spaces, including 2,001 square feet in a partial above-grade basement and 1,340 square feet of office space. The mill contains a vast array of architectural materials including Heart Pine and steel post, maple floors, and hand-pounded brick. The owner estimates these vintage materials alone to have a market value of more than $200,000.

(Story via, 3/24/2015)

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Laura Brousseau is moving her downtown business from one Main Street location to another, and hopes to return the historic flavor of the early 20th century to her new building.

She is moving her retail store, Ain’t Miss Bead Haven, three doors south, from a leased space at 152 N. Main St. to a historic building she purchased at 138 N. Main. She has received approval from the town’s Historic Preservation Committee to give the building a facelift that she hopes will be close to its look of nearly 100 years ago.

Brousseau anticipates the work will take six to eight months, after which she will move in.

Formerly Mary’s House of Flowers, Brousseau purchased the building from Mary Hart after Hart approached her.

(Mooresville Tribune, 3/24/2015)

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The first major legislative push on restoring historic preservation tax credits begins today in a House Finance committee hearing.

House Bill 152, introduced March 4, lists recommendations of a 15 percent tax credit for qualified expenditures up to $10 million, and a 10 percent tax credit for qualified expenditures between $10 million and $20 million.

By comparison, there had been a 30 percent state tax credit for rehabilitating historic structures before the law was allowed to expire by the legislature Dec. 31, except for some projects that were already pre-qualified.

Also on the agenda is House Bill 89, a Democratic-sponsored omnibus economic-development bill introduced Feb. 12 that includes tax credits for historic preservation and film production.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/23/2015)

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The Lexington City Council voted to merge the duties of the Lexington Historic Preservation Commission with the Lexington Planning Board during their regular meeting Monday.

Tammy Absher, director of the Lexington Business and Community Development Office, said combining these two boards will decrease duplication of duties, allow board members better use of their time and provide a more comprehensive overview for the upcoming update of the city’s land use plan.

“Having some members on the planning board that have a background in architecture, planning or design would be very useful in reviewing some of the permits that the planning board has to review,” Absher said. “At least three members of the historic preservation commission are required by state law to have special interest or experience in areas of design or architecture or history. That would be very useful to have on the planning board as well. … The North Carolina General Statues allow communities to assign the work of historic preservation to either a planning board or an appearance commission.”

(The Dispatch, 3/23/2015)

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The North Carolina Main Street Conference, a three-day gathering of statewide leaders, concluded in downtown Morganton with message from Gov. Pat McCrory and two of his cabinet members.

After an awards ceremony Thursday culminating the conference, McCrory was joined on-stage Friday morning at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium by Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz and Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla. In a panel discussion, the three encouraged conference participants — representatives from Main Street programs across the state — to reach out to state lawmakers and promote legislation that they said would facilitate the revitalization of downtown areas throughout North Carolina.

“The strength of a main street shows the health and vitality of an entire region — whether it’s Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, here in Morganton, Roxboro, Carrboro, whether it’s Wilkesboro,” McCrory said.

(The Morganton News-Herald, 3/23/2015)

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Charlotte may not be the only market that’s eager for apartment development.

Loray Mill Village, with 190 apartments in a 113-year-old redeveloped mill in Gastonia, is about 25 percent leased, two months after its first tenants moved in.

“It just happens that people love to live in these buildings,” says Billy Hughes, general partner in Loray Mill Redevelopment.

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A new children’s book about McDowell County’s most important historic site is now available for young and old to read.

The Historic Carson House recently announced the publication of “Treasures of My Heart,” a children’s book based on the family and descendants of Col. John Hazzard Carson, who originally built the home more than 200 years ago.

The book is written by Victoria S. Blake. The first book she wrote is called “My Days With Nell,” which is about the Biltmore House.

“Having lived in McDowell County for most of her life, western North Carolina writer Victoria S. Blake heard fascinating tales about Col. Carson and his family,” reads a news release from Historic Carson House. “In writing ‘Treasures of My Heart,’ she shares a touching story about Mary Carson, wife of Jonathan Logan Carson, son of the Colonel, who must make a heartbreaking decision.”

(McDowell News, 3/23/2015)

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RALEIGH – A city board has weighed in against a plan to lift the historic designation at the proposed site of a new downtown hotel.

The Raleigh Historic Development Commission recommended against removing property at the corner of South Wilmington and East Lenoir streets from the Prince Hall Historic district.

“To remove properties within a historic district piecemeal, effectively chipping away at the district, threatens the overall vitality of the district and the heritage it represents,” the commission said in a report on the rezoning.

Narsi Properties wants to build a 12-story hotel at the site near the under-construction Charter Square office building, where two houses and the headquarters for the General Baptist State Convention sit. The corner is a commercial area, with a McDonalds’s just around the corner.

The properties are part of the four-block Prince Hall district, which the commission said is the only historic overlay district in the city that specifically represents Raleigh’s African-American hertitage. The district also has been identified as one of the first mixed-use districts in Raleigh.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 3/20/2015)

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On March 4, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and the editorial board of the Winston-Salem Journal sponsored a forum on the film incentive and historic-preservation tax-credit programs in North Carolina. As cited in the Journal, there is significant debate about how much the government should be involved in attracting economic investment for both of these programs.

Both programs have merit, but we would like to speak specifically in support of the historic preservation tax credits. The revitalization of downtown Winston-Salem has transpired because of these tax credits, and proof of their value lies in the eminent architecture of our city. Examples of small- to large-scale projects can be found throughout the city and include the Nissen Building apartments, Wake Forest Biotech Place on the old RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. property and the Reynolds Building.

All of these examples are character-defining attributes of our city that would not exist if it wasn’t for the tax credits.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/23/2015)

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Raleigh, N.C. — Local officials from across North Carolina didn’t get the support they were looking for Wednesday when legislative leaders sidestepped discussion of restoring a local business tax and shot down the idea of restoring a tax credit that was popular in both big cities and rural communities.

The North Carolina League of Municipalities’ annual Town Day at the legislature included question-and-answer sessions with both House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The loss of both the privilege license tax and the historic preservation tax credit is a major concern for cities and towns statewide. The credit was allowed to expire in December as part of the legislature’s 2013 overhaul of the state tax code, while privilege licenses will end in July under tweaks to the overhaul that lawmakers passed last year.

(WRAL, 3/19/2015)

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SALISBURY — Historic Salisbury Foundation will hold its 42nd annual meeting at 6 p.m. April 9 at Salisbury Station, 215 Depot St.

All members are encouraged to attend and invite prospective members. A reception will be followed at 7 p.m. by a brief business meeting and presentation of the Clement Cup, HSF’s highest award, to Barbara Upright, for her years of dedication to the mission of the organization.

Guest speaker at the annual meeting will be Edward Clement, who will reflect on the impact the organization’s revolving fund has made in neighborhood revitalization over the past 40 years.

Not only was Clement a founder and first president of Historic Salisbury Foundation, but also was president when the Endangered Properties program began in 1975. Proceeds from OctoberTour that year were used to start the program, which has helped to revitalize many of Salisbury’s historic neighborhoods.

(Salisbury Post, 3/18/2015)

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Alamance County lawmaker Steve Ross is taking a leading role in a piece of legislation that has impact not just here, but statewide.

He’s not alone, either. Gov. Pat McCrory also endorses a bill offered by Ross that would bring back tax breaks for those involved in restoration and use of historic buildings across North Carolina. It’s a welcome measure. There’s little doubt this program, which lapsed last year amid talks of widespread tax reform, has had a profound impact on Alamance County in particular.

Ross, a second-term Republican in the General Assembly and former Burlington mayor and city councilman, was part of a group in our community on Monday pointing out just how much of a difference historic tax credits are making from Saxapahaw to Mebane to Burlington. He was joined in Mebane by McCrory and N.C. Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. Kluttz, who has toured much of the state touting the program as a jobs creator for the past couple of months, also included stops in Saxapahaw, Glencoe and Burlington, where a media event was staged at the city’s municipal building.

(Times-News, 3/17/2015)

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The UNC College of Arts and Sciences is one step closer to moving into its new office at 523 E. Franklin St. after the Chapel Hill Town Council approved the special use permit and zoning atlas amendment for the project Monday night.

The building, constructed in 1967 as the Chapel Hill Public Library, is in Chapel Hill’s historic district. It previously housed the Chapel Hill Museum and the Chapel Hill Historical Society.

As part of the process to finalize UNC’s purchase of the building, a proposal to change the property from a public facility into a general office building had to be passed by the town council.

“We’ve been working on it for almost four and a half months now,” said Rob Parker, senior associate dean for development in the College of Arts and Sciences and executive director of the Arts and Sciences Foundation.

“We have been working with the neighborhood and they have been very supportive.”

(The Daily Tar Heel, 3/17/2015)

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Governor McCrory recently presented his recommended budget for the state. The budget, which focuses on education and job creation, also contains a number of provisions that will benefit Greenville.

In his budget, the Governor proposes the restoration of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The program, which was allowed to sunset at the end of 2014, provides tax incentives for investors who rehabilitate historic buildings for both commercial and residential use.

The tax credits provide an ample incentive for investors to preserve historic structures across North Carolina, while simultaneously creating jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods and downtown districts across the state.

“Governor McCrory believes the Historic Preservation Tax Credit or the return thereof, is critical to the economic recovery of the state of North Carolina” said Susan Kluttz, secretary of cultural resources. “Since the late 1990s the credits have been used to renovate historic buildings in 90 of 100 counties, resulting in $1.67 billion of private investment. These buildings are tied to our past and must not be lost.”

The tax credits, which are already responsible for the rehabilitation of several buildings in the core city of Greenville, will continue to provide a way for investors to help secure Greenville’s economic and cultural progress without erasing its heritage.

“Without these credits, vital development is harder to get done” said Niki Jones, housing administrator for the city of Greenville. “Because the cost to revitalize these historic buildings is often times more expensive than building something new and demolishing the old.”

(The East Carolinian, 3/17/2015)

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Pulling out a map of North Carolina covered in small dots, N.C. Rep. Steve Ross said this was the impact of historic tax credits throughout the land of the long leaf pine.

“I understand my colleagues’ desire to eliminate tax credits, but I have to say I believe in the historic tax credits because I have seen what it does in this community,” Ross, R-Alamance, said Monday afternoon on the steps of the Burlington municipal building.

Ross recently introduced a bill to restore the credits, which were allowed to expire at the end of 2014. He was joined by Gov. Pat McCrory and N.C. Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz during various tours of properties that benefited from the credits throughout Alamance County.

(Times-News, 3/16/2014)

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Generally speaking, state lawmakers do not like to pass up opportunities to increase tax revenue without raising taxes. Such an opportunity is available this budget season, but Greenville has added its name to the long list of cities and towns urging lawmakers to take a different route.

Greenville has benefited greatly from the state’s historic preservation tax credits, which were allowed to expire at the end of 2014. Cities in 90 of the state’s 100 counties have utilized the tax credits to encourage redevelopment projects in historic districts.

Lawmakers allowed the tax credits to expire with the idea that a lower overall tax rate will stimulate jobs and the economy more than offering credits for targeted projects. That philosophy is not sitting well, however, with municipalities, including Greenville, that have seen the credits transform whole city blocks from depressed and vacant areas into preserved historic districts bustling with commerce and entertainment.

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas pointed out in last Sunday’s Daily Reflector that the majority of the redevelopment and revitalization that has occurred in downtown Greenville would not have happened without the credits.

“Our center city would still be stuck where we were two decades ago,” the mayor said. “Historic structures come with a considerable amount of cost and restrictions. (The tax credits) provide just enough critical value for a bank or financial institution to decide to make the loan to a private investor or not. It is a critical tipping point.”

(The Daily Reflector, 3/16/2015)

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The odds for restoring the state’s historic preservation tax credits may have improved with the submission of the Senate version of House Bill 152.

However, the limited activity on the House version since it was filed March 4 and the reality of having just one sponsor of Senate Bill 287 may foreshadow the difficulty of getting either bill out of committee.
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That’s even though the bills contain the same provisions as Gov. Pat McCrory’s restoration proposal in his 2015-17 budget plan.

The Senate sponsor, Rep. Fletcher Hartsell Jr., R-Cabarrus, is one of the more influential leaders in that chamber. Hartsell could not be reached for comment Friday.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/13/2015)

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear region, especially Downtown Wilmington, is full of historic buildings and landmarks. And now state and local leaders are pushing to get a historic preservation tax back, because they say they want to save that history.

“It is our historic downtown and riverfront that is the crown jewel of our region and separates us from the rest of North Carolina,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

It’s a gem, Saffo says, that needs to be preserved.

Saffo was joined by Susan Kluttz, the secretary of cultural resources, and other city leaders on a tour of the historic downtown this morning. They say a historic preservation tax that ended at the beginning of this year needs to come back.

(WWAY NewsChannel3, 3/13/2015)

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WILMINGTON — A recently introduced bill could reinstate incentives used to preserve North Carolina historic buildings.

The North Carolina Historic Preservation Tax Credits expired at the end of 2014 and now the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Secretary, Susan Kluttz, is taking a statewide tour to promote the renewal of these tax credits.

On Friday, Kluttz joined area leaders for a tour of historic buildings in downtown Wilmington.

“This is something that’s proved to be successful. You see it right here in Wilmington. I see it on every stop that I have gone to throughout the state, from Asheville to Wilmington, how much this has done and how important it is to continue,” said Kluttz.

Historic tax credit projects have taken place in 90 of the 100 North Carolina counties.

(Time Warner Cable News, 3/13/2015)

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and other area elected officials will join the Secretary of the NC Department of Cultural Resources on a tour of historic buildings Friday.

Secretary Susan Kluttz oversees the state’s historic preservation efforts and supports reinstating the historic preservation tax credit program that ended last year.

The tour will include various buildings that have been renovated with historic preservation tax credits, both residential and commercial. Stops include 21 South Front Street, soon to be home of nextglass, and the Efirds Building at 272 North Front Street.

“The Historic Tax Credits brought jobs and economic development to rural towns and big cities across North Carolina,” said Secretary Kluttz in a press release. “The rebirth of one abandoned downtown building has a ripple effect throughout a community and often sparks a renaissance of development in nearby structures. In addition, these historic buildings and mills are an emotional tie to our heritage and exemplify what makes North Carolina unique. These credits are critical for North Carolina’s economic recovery. ”

The Secretary will hold her news conference on the need to reinstate the preservation tax credits at the Efirds Building in the restored Outdoor Equipped retail space which opened in December.

(WECT, 3/12/2015)

Many people enjoyed seeing Gov. Pat McCrory during a program here Wednesday, but he also asked for something in return: local support for historic tax credits that have benefited this and other communities.

“I’m preaching to the choir right now,” McCrory told an audience of more than 100 people jammed into the McArthur’s on Main restaurant in Mount Airy, where state figures show nine income-producing tax credit projects were completed between 1983 and 2013.

However, historic tax credits that have stimulated private investment and job growth — while also rehabilitating older buildings — expired on Dec. 31 as part of recent budget-reform efforts by the state Legislature.

Gov. McCrory has reinstated those credits in his proposed budget, but approval by the N.C. General Assembly is needed for that to actually occur. In the meantime, he and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz have been touring the state to drum up support for this.

(Mount Airy News, 3/11/2015)

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RUTHERFORDTON — With many of its commercial and residential properties located in a designated historic district or on the National Register of Historic Places, the Town of Rutherfordton is no stranger to the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Tax Credit program.

One of those properties is The Firehouse Inn on West 1st Street, the 1925 town hall and firehouse renovated into a bed and breakfast with the help of historic tax credits.

However, North Carolina’s historic tax credit program ended on Dec. 31, 2014, leaving many future preservation and restoration projects without the incentive.

The Rutherfordton Town Council unanimously passed a resolution during this month’s council meeting in support of the extension of the historic tax credit program. The resolution states the council supports any and all efforts of the North Carolina General Assembly to revive the historic tax credits.

“We have quite a few buildings downtown that would qualify for these tax credits,” Town Manager Doug Barrick said. “They help with restoration of buildings and job creation and retention.”

The historic tax credit program was created in 1998 for business owners and homeowners who have historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places to assist them in preserving their buildings within defined guidelines.

(The Daily Courier, 3/8/2015)

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Principle has been pitted against practicality as the N.C. House considers a compromise bill that would revive the state’s historic preservation tax credits. While it seems to have an uphill fight, we hope the bill will ultimately pass.

The bill, submitted Wednesday, would bring the popular tax credits back at a lower value, the Journal’s Richard Craver reported. It offers a 15 percent tax credit for up to $10 million in qualified expenditures, and a 10 percent tax credit for between $10 million and $20 million in qualified expenditures.

Previously, the state offered a 30 percent state tax credit for rehabilitating historic structures.

And the bill would offer a 5 percent bonus, not to exceed $20 million, for projects that take place in one of the state’s more distressed counties. Another 5 percent bonus – also not to exceed $20 million – would be available for qualified projects located on an eligible investment site. There also is a provision for historic non-income-producing projects worth up to $22,500, the Journal reported.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 3/8/2015)

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A recent restoration of the state’s oldest synagogue is the focus of the third lecture in the Preservation Talks series.

Presented by the Historic Wilmington Foundation, the discussion is set for 6:30 p.m. March 10 at the temple, 1 S. Fourth St.

Beth Pancoe, President of SDI Construction, is guest speaker. She’ll give insight on the Temple of Israel’s 15-month detailed restoration that was led by Pancoe and SDI and completed in 2012. The same year, the temple congregation won the David Brinkley Preservationist of the Year award that year from the Historic Wilmington Foundation for the restoration.

(Port City Daily, 3/8/2015)

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A redeveloped former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. building in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter has been named one of “Preservation’s Best of 2014″ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Trust Community Investment Corp. and Preservation Action.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, which is developing Innovation Quarter, and Wexford Science + Technology, its development partner for much of the recent work, received the award this week. The $150 million Building 90 project received one of five awards given nationally for projects completed last year.

“We are honored to receive this national award and see it as recognition of our commitment to public-private partnerships that advance the economic development of the region,” said Dr. John McConnell, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist.

(Triad Business Journal, 3/6/2015)

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A bipartisan House bill submitted Wednesday would revive the state’s historic preservation tax credits at an expected lower value per project.

House Bill 152 lists recommendations most recently attempted in July: a 15 percent tax credit for qualified expenditures up to $10 million, and a 10 percent tax credit for qualified expenditures between $10 million and $20 million.

By comparison, there had been a 30 percent state tax credit for rehabilitating historic structures before the law was allowed to expire by the legislature Dec. 31.

The tax credits would be made available retroactive to Jan. 1 and not expire until Jan. 1, 2023. The bill requires applicants to also qualify for a federal tax credit.

The state tax credit has been instrumental in several revitalization projects in downtown Winston-Salem with a combined capital investment value of more than $700 million. The main developer has been Wexford Science & Technology with Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

(Greensboro News & Record, 3/5/2015)

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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – A bipartisan-sponsored House bill filed Wednesday would create a new historic preservation tax credit in North Carolina.

The credit offers tax breaks for rehabilitating historic buildings.

GOP leaders allowed the credits to expire at the end of 2014. Governor Pat McCrory is among those pushing to get them back.

Democrats Rep. Susi Hamilton of New Hanover County and Rep. Ken Waddell of Columbus County have signed on as co-sponsors of House Bill 152. Primary sponsors of the legislation include Republicans Rep. Stephen Ross (Alamance), Rep. Jon Hardister (Guilford), Rep. David R. Lewis (Harnett), and Democrat Rep. Rick Glazier (Cumberland).

(WECT, 3/4/2015)

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Several Republican House members filed a bill Wednesday to bring back the state’s historic preservation tax credit program – a big priority for Gov. Pat McCrory.

House Bill 152 is a scaled-back version of the program that expired Dec. 31 as part of Republican-led changes to the tax code. It’s designed to cost the state less money while still providing a financial incentive to fix up historic properties.

Under the bill, property owners who spend under $10 million on a renovation would get a tax credit equal to 15 percent of their expenses. Renovations costing $10 million to $20 million would get a 10 percent credit.

The legislation would add an additional 5 percent credit for projects in counties that the state categorizes as poor.

In its previous form, property owners could receive a credit of up to 30 percent of their expenses.

McCrory and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz have been making appearances in towns across the state, touring developments that benefited from credits and lobbying for the program

(News & Observer, 3/4/2015)

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RALEIGH — A 76-year-old warehouse site in downtown Raleigh is up for demolition, prompting outcry from those who see opportunity and history in aging buildings.

The old Carolina Trailways and Carolina Coach depot has covered about 60,000 square feet between South Blount, Bragg and Branch streets since 1939. A contractor has filed permits to demolish five buildings on the lot, owned by a Greyhound subsidiary.

Greyhound had considered selling the property to Passage Home for refurbishment. But the bus company pulled out of talks last week, according to Jeanne Tedrow, the nonprofit’s chief executive.

“We were looking to preserve it and do some things to foster economic development in the area,” said Tedrow, whose group seeks to “break the cycle of poverty.” Possibilities included light manufacturing and agriculture, she said.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 3/3/2015)

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CRUMPLER — A special designation, 31 years in the making, has finally been awarded to the Wooten-Cockerham Mill complex in Crumpler.

The six-structure complex, built between 1884 – 1912, was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places effective Dec. 10, 2014.

The mill complex is located at 1580 Dog Creek Road in Crumpler, three miles north of Jefferson. It’s listed as Cockerham Mill in the National Register of Historic Places.

Mitch Wooten, who owns the property and resides in the rehabilitated 1912 house, has been laboring to repair and upgrade the complex since 1981.

(Jefferson Post, 3/3/2015)

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The timing is coincidental, but organizers hope it’s also serendipitous: An exhibit of photographs of abandoned houses in eastern North Carolina is opening at the state Museum of History as lawmakers returning for a new legislative session are being urged to restore a historic preservation tax credit.

The exhibit, titled “Rural Revival: Photographs of Home and Preservation of Place,” opened Feb. 20 and is on view through Sept. 27. The photographs were taken by Scott Garlock of Macon in Warren County, whose fascination with old houses began when he explored one near Salt Lake State Park in Ohio.

“These abandoned homesteads, these abandoned sites, they’re one of North Carolina’s most unappreciated natural resources,” Garlock said as he walked through the exhibit before it opened. Some homes have architectural details specific to a county or even a part of a county, he said.

(San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/28/2015)

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The article below is from a Minneapolis-based paper, but asks questions that are relevant in NC.

Historic preservation is typically associated with buildings that have been standing for a century or longer. But should the same protections extend to 50-year-old buildings that were erected during an era of suburban flight and urban renewal?

It’s a hot topic these days in historic preservation circles. Turning 50 makes it easier to list buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, even if the angular designs and exposed concrete of the 1950s and ’60s don’t inspire the same nostalgia as their 19th-century counterparts.

Not all buildings from the era are significant, but determining which ones qualify requires research that today remains sparse. A listing itself does not protect a building in most cases, but cities like Minneapolis apply extra scrutiny to properties on the register if the owner wants to demolish them.

“Preservation is a difficult argument to make to begin with,” said Todd Grover, who heads the local chapter of Docomomo, a group dedicated to documenting and conserving “modern movement” architecture. “And when you add this modernism on top of that it makes it even more difficult. That’s why there needs to be more information, more understanding and more awareness.”

The latest front in this debate locally is in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown district, where the 1963 Ralph Rapson-designed Southeast library is under threat. Hennepin County is assessing what to do with the building, whose small size, blind spots and rigid design make it difficult to operate as a modern library.

(Star-Tribune, 2/26/2015)

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A lawsuit has been filed against the Town of Hildebran and the company hired to demolish the old Hildebran School building. According to a published report, the lawsuit has been filed by attorneys for the Hildebran Heritage & Development Association Inc. and Citizens United To Preserve The Old Hildebran School. The report says the suit asks Burke County Superior Court to issue a temporary restraining order and eventually a preliminary injunction preventing Foothills Recycling & Demolition LLC from continuing demolition of the school.

In the report, HHDA Vice President Johnny Childers says his organization’s first concern was that the demolition company was removing things from the building that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace. The lawsuit alleges the company is removing “radiators, chalk boards and other items necessary to preserve the subject structure.”

The report says the lawsuit further alleges the town violated several laws during the decision-making and bidding process leading up to the demolition. The complaint says the decision to demolish The Old Hildebran School was the product of actions that violated the Open Meetings Law and, therefore, is an improper and/or illegal decision or act which should be set aside.

The lawsuit contains other allegations as well. Hildebran Town Council voted in January to demolish the 98-year-old building and tower that sits on South Center Street. The Town of Hildebran bought the building in 1988 from the Burke County Board of Education for $10. Since that time, new windows and a new roof have been added to the building. At this time, the doors are padlocked and most of the first floor is just used only for storage. At this point in time the building has two tenants, a sign company, and HHDA. The company’s monthly rent reportedly comes close to covering the building’s annual insurance.

(WKHY-TV, 2/27/2015)

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Amid a rush of donations and new business, the Sandhills Woman’s Exchange is working with Preservation North Carolina to ensure that the historic building remains intact even if the Exchange does not.

“The community has been very generous, and it is making a difference,” said Karen Lehto, president of the Exchange’s Board of Directors. “However, unless we get our board member slots filled we will not be able to open next year. They have to be active participants in the Exchange for it to be successful.”

The Exchange has been living on borrowed time since the board voted last April to shutter the nonprofit begun in 1922 to help local farm women earn income from the sale of their handcrafted items.

The Exchange has preserved a piece of Pinehurst history for the past 93 years by operating out of a building on Azalea Road whose front room is a log cabin built in the early 1800s, long before the Tufts family founded Pinehurst Resort.

(The Pilot, 2/26/2015)

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As of this year, North Carolina no longer has its long-standing Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which was credited by many for spurring growth in downtown Winston-Salem and beyond.

First enacted in 1998, the credit offers tax breaks for rehabilitating historic buildings. It expired at the end of 2014 as part of a tax reform bill passed with Republican support designed to eliminate tax breaks and lower the tax rate overall.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has proposed a new historic tax credit that would offer smaller incentives to bigger projects with an overall cap on the program, and restoring the also eliminated tax break for movies made in the state. House Rep. Ed Hanes of the 72nd District is among the Democrats sponsoring a omnibus economic development bill to bring back the full, unaltered historic tax credit, along with other measures like re-establishing the movie tax credit and earned income tax credit.

“Our job should be to help everyone and that’s what the Historic Preservation Tax Credit does,” said Hanes.

According to the N.C. State Historic Preservation office, nearly $300 million of rehabilitation work has been done in 39 completed commercial projects in Forsyth County since 1998. Nearly $16 million of rehabilitation work has been done on 124 non-income producing residential projects in Forsyth. Though expired, work done through the end of last year still counts for the credit. Construction or new projects this year do not.

City Council Member Jeff MacIntosh said Winston-Salem has a high number of historic districts and properties. He said the tax credit often makes restoring buildings financially feasible when it wouldn’t otherwise be. He said its been vital to projects that have helped revitalize downtown, like turning the Nissen Building into apartments in 2006 and transforming an empty tobacco plant into 525@Vine, a laboratory and office complex in the Innovation Quarter, which opened last year. He said without it, many developers will look to other states that offer the credit.

(The Winston-Salem Chronicle, 2/26/2015)

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State Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz’s is scheduled to visit Mount Airy on Feb. 26 as part of a statewide tour trying to drum up support for restoring the historic preservation tax credit. She is slated to visit McArthur’s on Main.

Previous stops on the tour included Eden, Hendersonville and Burlington.

According to Downtown Coordinator Lizzie Morrison, the city of Mount Airy, Mount Airy Downtown Inc. and several other groups are supporting Kluttz on her tour, and continuing to lobby for passage of the tax credit.

“The Historic Tax Credits brought jobs and economic development to rural towns and big cities across North Carolina,” said Kluttz. “The rebirth of one abandoned downtown building has a ripple effect throughout a community and often sparks a renaissance of development in nearby structures. In addition, these historic buildings and mills are an emotional tie to our heritage and exemplify what makes North Carolina unique. These credits are critical for North Carolina’s economic recovery.”

(Mount Airy News, 2/19/2015)

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A decision by the N.C. General Assembly is making historic renovations in Stanly County more difficult.

The state’s Historic Preservation Tax Credits, which have been in place since 1998, sunsetted at the end of 2014 when the General Assembly failed to vote for an extention of the program.

The tax credits covered 20 percent of renovation costs for any project on the National Register of Deeds and 30 percent of costs for any non-income producing project, including homes.

“Those tax credits have helped preserve a lot of buildings in North Carolina,” Albemarle City Manager Michael Ferris said when the credits were eliminated earlier this year.

According to the State Historic Preservation Office, certified rehabilitation projects accounted for more than $1 billion of investment in North Carolina since 1976, when the federal government first implemented a tax credit program.

Locally the credits have been used to restore sites such as Lillian Mills, the former Albemarle Opera House and The Boardroom in Albemarle, as well as a few homes across the county.

(The Stanly News & Press, 2/17/2015)

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In his “State of the State” address to the legislature Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory recommended reinstating some form of the historic preservation tax credits that the legislature allowed to expire last year “to continue to revitalize main streets from Wilkesboro, to Greensboro, to Swansboro.”

We hope the legislature will realize the wisdom of his recommendation and follow it — as well as revive the film tax credits that also expired last year.

(The Daily Reflector, 2/17/2015)

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I was very heartened to attend the press conference recently with Gov. Pat McCrory and Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz, who are working to promote the restoration of the state historic preservation tax credits in North Carolina. It is good for everyone when people of varied political persuasions agree on a public policy that has a proven record of success. I hope the NC General Assembly will recognize the value the tax program has provided North Carolina communities. Neighborhood revitalization, private investment in commercial redevelopment, protection of historic resources and, most importantly, the jobs created in association with the craftsmen and skilled trades necessary to restore older buildings are benefits of the program.

The historic preservation tax credits have been good for North Carolina and Salisbury. Tremendous progress has been made in stabilizing the downtown, the West Square, Fulton Heights and other areas. I am certain, however, that residents of these neighborhoods would be quick to say that there is much, much more to be done.

Despite the best efforts of historic preservationists, private investors and neighborhood activists, the older Salisbury residential areas, just outside the historic districts, are experiencing a rapid decline. Because of the widespread collapse of the housing market in 2008, a number of general residential neighborhoods experienced a significant increase in mortgage foreclosures and, subsequently, a decline in housing value. The results are a distressed housing market and the sale of properties for pennies on the dollar. And while there has been recent improvement in the housing market, substantial damage has accrued in many neighborhoods.

(Salisbury Post, 2/16/2015)

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Perhaps N.C. Republicans were so busy taking care of big business with various tax breaks last session they simply overlooked one tax credit with a number of real virtues. The historic preservation tax credit gave business people willing to invest in revitalizing historic sites another reason to do so.

Those who rehabilitated historic properties for the purpose of establishing income-producing businesses could get a healthy break from the state and from the federal government. Breaks also were given for restoring historic property for personal homes or doing the same for old mill and plant sites.

This was an enlightened program that bolstered cities. It helped “bring back” parts of some cities large and small that otherwise might have seen historic properties simply crumble because of the expense in rehabilitating them.

GOP legislative leaders let the credits expire. Gov. Pat McCrory, who served 14 years as mayor of Charlotte, is pushing to get them back. Whether he’ll be able to move lawmakers on the issue is questionable. Though the governor’s election in 2012 doubtless helped bring some more Republicans into the legislature, he hasn’t had much clout there.

In this case, though, GOP lawmakers ought to support the restoration of tax credits without hesitation. A spectacular example of how the credits can help stands just a few miles away in Durham. The old American Tobacco complex is now a wonder downtown, with residential, retail and office space. Raleigh’s Jim Goodmon and Capitol Broadcasting led the effort, and it’s paid off for all concerned.

If lawmakers need more convincing, consider that state officials figure the credit has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment. Isn’t this the kind of thing Republicans advocate: private investment in the economy with encouragement from government?

The program also hasn’t been confined to the state’s urban counties. Most of North Carolina’s 100 counties have been positively affected at some point.

(Published as an editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer, 2/15/2015)

Driving through eastern North Carolina, I still enjoy a pastime I developed as child — gazing at old, abandoned homes and wondering about the people who used to live there.

Riding with my parents from Greensboro to Williamston to visit my grandparents and other relatives, I saw once-occupied homes become empty and start to decay. That was before the U.S. 64 bypass was built, so after going through Raleigh, most of the highway was two lanes through the countryside and small towns.

On the route were grand two-story homes with wrap-around porches and balconies and small tenant homes, some twisted off their foundations by time with weeds engulfing much of the structures.

I couldn’t help but wonder who was the last one to walk out their doors.

My brother and I often would count the outhouses we saw in the yards, some hard to find because they were hidden in vines. I also liked to look for wells. My grandparents had one in their yard that they had stopped using by the time I was old enough to play around it.

Close to my grandparents’ home in Williamston was my great-grandparents’ home. Old, empty and just a shell of what it used to be, it eventually was buried in the ground.

(The Daily Reflector, 2/15/2015)

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For years, history-minded folks in Edenton – and there are a lot of them in North Carolina’s second-oldest town – thought they had a nice example of a turn-of-the-century mill house at 304 E. Queen St.

The National Register concurred, including the modest tin-roofed cottage in its early 1900s Edenton Cotton Mill Village Historic District.

Then in 2009, local carpenter Wayne Griffin started ripping bead boarding off interior walls to turn the four-room, two-story house into rental housing for owner Steve Lane.

He got the surprise of his life when he uncovered a large hand-hewn support post. It was whitewashed, with a wooden peg attached.

(Charlotte Observer, 2/15/2015)

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Preservation Virginia’s tobacco barns project has led to repair and preservation of some of the county’s old tobacco barns — and it has also produced jobs in the region.

The project, started in 2012 to survey and help stabilize barns in the Dan River Region, has created about 10 local jobs, said Sonja Ingram, field representative for Preservation Virginia. The region includes Pittsylvania and Halifax counties in Virginia and Caswell County in North Carolina.

The organization is getting ready for its second year of repairing barns in the three counties under a mini-grants project funded by JTI Leaf Services. The company provided a $100,000 grant for the group to repair 15 old tobacco barns in 2014 — five in each county.

(Go Dan River, 2/13/2015)

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One of Wilmington’s “newer” older neighborhoods is the latest to join the ranks of historic areas in the city to earn national recognition.

The 1920s-era Brookwood neighborhood, between Carolina Place and Forest Hills, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, which now recognizes eight historic districts consisting of more than 7,000 historic buildings in Wilmington.

Historically significant for its neighborhood layout, which reflects the country’s transition to personal automobiles, and the architecture of its bungalows, cottages and revival-style homes dating from 1920 to 1964, Brookwood encompasses 11 city blocks generally south of Market’s intersection with 23rd Street.

The neighborhood is bordered to the west by Wallace Park, which runs alongside Burnt Mill Creek, to the east by Keaton Avenue and to the south by Metts Avenue. The area is centered by Brookwood Avenue, which features a brick column at its intersection with Market that bears wooden “Brookwood” signs—a remnant of an arch that once marked the neighborhood’s entrance.

(Port City Daily, 2/13/2015)

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As Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz tours the state to promote a restoration of North Carolina’s historic tax credits, the City of Salisbury is trying to rally support by offering resolutions to governing boards of Rowan County Municipalities.

In January, the City of Salisbury sent draft resolutions supporting the credits to all municipalities in Rowan County. A draft resolution was also sent to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. Kannapolis, Spencer and Cleveland have all adopted a resolution in support of the tax credits. The resolutions are similar to one adopted by the Salisbury City Council on Feb. 3.

City Councilwoman Karen Alexander, who organized a visit this week by Governor Pat McCrory and Kluttz, said sending the resolutions to county government and all Rowan municipalities was important to raise awareness about the need for the credits.

(Salisbury Post, 2/14/2015)

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — A bill filed today in Raleigh calls for restoring several tax incentives, including credits for film projects and historic preservation.

HB 89, also known as the the Omnibus Economic Development Improvements Bill, is sponsored by three Democrats, including Rep. Susi Hamilton of Wilmington.

The bill restores North Carolina’s old incentive program for film projects that expired at the end of last year. The program offers a 25-percent tax rebate for qualifying projects. It was credited with bringing productions including “Iron Man 3,” “Safe Haven” and “Tammy” to Wilmington and other parts of North Carolina. If approved, the film incentives would run through 2019.

Rep. Hamilton says despite Republican control of both houses in the General Assembly and the governor’s office, it’s still a two-party system. She hopes the GOP will take the ideas in the bill seriously.

“In the past, all of these economic development programs passed with bipartisan support,” Hamilton told WWAY. “If history is any indicator, maybe we can work across the aisle to help people in all 100 counties of North Carolina.”

The bill also calls for the restoration of low-income housing tax credits, a tax credit for using state ports in Wilmington and Morehead City and the repealed Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which Wilmington city leaders have urged lawmakers to resume along with the film credit because of their impact on the local economy.

(WWAY, 2/12/2015)

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Historic preservation is in the news.

In his “State of the State” address, Gov. Pat McCrory said North Carolina needs a new historic preservation tax credit program like the one Raleigh lawmakers let expire last year.

Not surprisingly, Sylva officials last Thursday passed a resolution expressing support for the same thing. With funding from First Citizens Bank, town leaders commissioned a study that led to the late-summer 2014 creation of a downtown historic district that would allow building owners who improve their properties to qualify for state tax credits.

As recently noted, one of downtown’s signature structures, the C.J. Harris building, replaced its awning. Constructed in 1902 to house Harris’ Sylva Supply Co., the building is now home to Jackson’s General Store.

As it turns out, I’m writing this column from another of Main Street’s oldest buildings. Owned by retired Herald Publisher Jim Gray, the two-story building at 539 W. Main Street was built in 1903 – three years before the Hooper House and 11 years prior to completion of the historic old Courthouse.

(The Sylva Herald, 2/11/2015)

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N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says renewing the state’s historic preservation tax credits is vital to communities small and large because they bring jobs and economic development throughout North Carolina.

He remembers attending Catawba College in the 1970s when students “didn’t come to downtown Salisbury.” Today, after 40 years of redevelopment, that part of the city is a vibrant spot for businesses and residents.

“Now downtown is a destination,” McCrory said this morning in Salisbury. He and Susan Kluttz, secretary of the N.C. Cultural Resources Department, were in Rowan County as a part of a cross-state tour to support the renewal of the historic tax credits.

(Charlotte Business Journal, 2/9/2015)

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North Carolina’s historic tax-credit program expired at the end of 2014, but there’s local support for efforts to see the program revived.

“I hope it happens,” said Bob Shuller of the Swansboro Historical Association.

While he’s not aware of preservation projects in Swansboro’s historic district that may have qualified or taken advantage of the program, Shuller said the historic tax credit is one the SHA has supported over the years because of the benefit it can be, particularly to anyone taking on a large preservation project in the state.

“Some of the bigger projects are very expensive and for an investment like that a tax credit can be a big benefit. It can mean the difference between projects getting done or not,” he said.

Historic tax credits are used by businesses and homeowners who own historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places to preserve their buildings within certain guidelines. The tax credits are taken after the projects are completed when the property owners file their taxes.

(Jacksonville Daily News, 2/9/2015)

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Gov. Pat McCrory and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz on Monday visited Salisbury, touting the importance of reviving tax credits for historic renovations.

During a news conference at Salisbury City Hall, McCrory and Kluttz — a former Salisbury mayor — spoke briefly to a packed room before boarding trolleys to tour the former Bernhardt Hardware Building on Main Street and the Fulton-Mock-Blackmer House on Fulton Street.

“We are here today because, frankly, we’re having a crisis in Raleigh,” Kluttz said. “As you know ,the tax credits expired at the end of the year and it’s critical they be restored for economic recovery and Governor McCrory’s Carolina comeback.”

(Salisbury Post, 2/9/2015)

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In his “State of the State” address to the legislature Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory recommended reinstating some form of the historic preservation tax credits that the legislature allowed to expire last year “to continue to revitalize main streets from Wilkesboro, to Greensboro, to Swansboro.”

We hope the legislature will realize the wisdom of his recommendation and follow it – as well as revive the film tax credits that also expired last year.

Thursday, McCrory was in Winston-Salem at Inmar, a preservation tax credit beneficiary, touting the credits. Our city has benefited greatly from preservation tax credits in recent times. They’ve allowed us to revive historic properties, retaining unique characteristics that speak to our heritage, rather than seeing them lost to disuse and blight or torn down to be replaced by something more generic with less community appeal. Projects spurred by the credits not only preserve architecture; they create jobs and generate tax revenue.

Last year, Paul Norby, the director of the City-County Planning Department, told the Journal editorial board that the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, using these credits, “has generated $200 million or more in economic investment.” He said that the tax credits were responsible for thousands of construction jobs — not to mention more than 3,300 permanent jobs. His list of beneficiaries includes the Nissen Building, the Piedmont Leaf Lofts, the Gallery Lofts in Goler, the old Courthouse, Plant 64 and the Winston Factory Lofts.

We’re not alone in benefiting from these credits. For some rural areas in the state, preservation tax credits could play a significant role in spurring economic and community revival. In a lead up to Wednesday’s address, McCrory toured the Hotel Concord on Jan. 30, which local officials hope to restore, and talked about hosting executives who consider investing in the region. “And the first place they want to go to is the center city, to see is there blight or decay or is there a future,” he told The Associated Press.

Republican legislators have indicated that they oppose the credits in part because they don’t fit with the legislature’s move away from tax policies that benefit certain groups. But as Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz told the AP, more than $1.6 billion in private investments were made while the credits were in effect, and 90 of the state’s 100 counties took advantage of the program. That doesn’t seem to represent any kind of select group.

McCrory said in his address that he wants the “best of everything” for North Carolina. So do we, and so, presumably, does the legislature. Preservation tax credits, as well as film tax credits, could play an important role in meeting that goal.

The Journal, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership will hold a public forum on historic preservation tax credits and film tax credits on the night of March 4 at the chamber.

(The Winston-Salem Journal, 2/8/2015)


Governor McCrory and Secretary Kluttz speaking on the HTC in Concord on January 30 Governor McCrory and Secretary Kluttz speaking on the HTC in Concord on January 30
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – Governor Pat McCrory will join N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary, and former Salisbury Mayor, Susan Kluttz, Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson and other local leaders to tour historic buildings in Salisbury that utilized the recently expired Historic tax credits.

Stops include income producing properties and non-income producing properties which have recently taken advantage of the tax credits prior to their expiration.

The tour begins at City Hall, 217 S. Main Street, and 10:00 am. Officials will also take a trolley tour of various properties.

“The Historic Tax Credits brought jobs and economic development to rural towns and big cities across North Carolina,” said Secretary Kluttz. “The rebirth of one abandoned downtown building has a ripple effect throughout a community and often sparks a renaissance of development in nearby structures. In addition, these historic buildings and mills are an emotional tie to our heritage and exemplify what makes North Carolina unique. These credits are critical for North Carolina’s economic recovery. ”

Cities across North Carolina, in conjunction with the NC Metro Mayors Coalition, are working towards the reinstatement of the Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit program of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (also known as Historic Tax Credits or HTC).

The HTC is used by cities and towns of all sizes and provides an incentive to taxpayers who contribute to the preservation of historic buildings by rehabilitating them in a way that preserves the historic character of the building while allowing for new uses.

(WBTV, 2/8/2015)

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From 1998 through 2014, North Carolina’s government offered a financial tool that helped redevelop nearly 2,500 run-down and dilapidated residential and commercial properties throughout the state.

The historic property tax credit provided a cash infusion to developers striving to turn declining and failed properties into viable businesses. In Fayetteville, the tax credit fostered the rehabilitation of 12 properties, says the N.C. Historic Preservation Office.

In 2013, the state issued nearly $12 million in credits to the owners of 787 properties, says a report from the N.C. Department of Revenue.

But now, the tax credit is gone. It expired Jan. 1. And the state’s top leaders, including Gov. Pat McCrory, are arguing over whether to bring it back to spur and maintain a renaissance of downtown areas, or whether it is best left discarded as an unnecessary and unfair bit of corporate welfare.

“We’ve got to have this because these buildings won’t revitalize themselves,” McCrory said Thursday in an interview with WFNC radio in Fayetteville. “They won’t even get loans from the banks.”

(Fayetteville Observer, 2/7/2015)

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The setup was perfect for a low-budget horror flick: A group of college students armed with little more than sleeping bags and floor mats occupy a historically complicated dwelling for a slumber party.

But if the Bellamy Mansion’s former slave quarters are haunted, those spirits were content to let Tonia McKoy sleep through the night.

“This whole experience just opened my eyes,” said McKoy, one of 10 people, including University of North Carolina Wilmington employees and students, who stayed overnight in the building on Jan. 22. “You read a lot about what it was like to be a slave, but this was very different from what a book can teach you.”

Led by The Slave Dwelling Project founder Joseph McGill Jr., the group of mostly public history graduate students was the first to bed down since renovations to the more than 150-year-old structure were completed this past summer. McGill, himself a descendant of slaves, has slept in more than 60 such structures, ranging in condition from decaying shacks with dirt floors to thoroughly modernized man caves.

(StarNewsOnline, 2/1/2015)

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DAVIDSON — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission has committed to saving a home on Delburg Street as a symbol of the town’s industrial history.

HLC Preservation Planner Stewart Gray appealed to town commissioners Jan. 13 to designate 303 Delburg St. as a local historic landmark so their board could continue proceedings. The home, now dubbed the Delburg Cotton Mill House, was already under contract for the Landmarks Commission to purchase it, but needed the commissioners’ designation approval, which it received.

Due to the condition and small size of the home, Gray said prior to the meeting that the plan is to renovate the current property while keeping its architectural integrity and add 400 square feet for a new master bedroom and full bathroom to make it more marketable.

From there, the Landmark Commission will be able to sell it for residential use, but it will have deed covenants so it can never be demolished, will have future renovations regulated and will be eligible for tax reductions.

Though the house is fairly humble, Gray said, it represents the rise and decline of the town mills from 1890-1950 and their subsequent mill villages, neighborhoods created for employees.

“It’s a simple, small house with simple architecture in the west side of Davidson,” Gray said. “It represents the history of the town, the mill workers and the industrialization.”

The home stems from a time when Davidson was known for the College as well as the Linden Cotton Mill and Delburg Cotton Mill, named after Iredell and Mecklenburg counties and constructed in 1907 with expansion in 1917. The mills brought in a non-agricultural blue-collar workforce that changed the social dynamics of the community, according to a study of the area’s history. By 1930, a newspaper from the time reported more than 300 people lived in the mill village.

(Huntersville Herald, 1/22/2015)

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DAVIDSON, N.C. — Tagging buildings with an official historic designation is traditionally about preserving a part of the past worth remembering.

The Davidson Town Board’s unanimous vote Jan. 13 to designate a mill house on Delburg Street as an historic landmark, however, is more about reminding today’s citizens about something they shouldn’t forget.

The board’s vote, which clears the way for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission to buy and renovate the property, was a positive step toward acknowledging a negative aspect of Davidson’s past that might seem out of character to many in a town whose leaders continue to support — even in the face of legal challenges — rare measures aimed at guaranteeing economic inclusiveness in one of the Charlotte region’s most expensive communities.

(Lake Norman Citizen, 1/20/2015)

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The Wrightsville Beach Historic Landmark Commission voted to allow storm windows to be installed over the deteriorating windows of the historically designated property located at 121 Live Oak Drive.

The Jan. 29 decision came after a month of deliberation and research to determine a solution that would be affordable to the homeowners but preserve the historical character of the unique windows.

Property owners Bill Sisson and Joy Miller initially applied Jan. 5 to install new windows framed with vinyl rather than wood. The price of rebuilding the windows out of wood, they argued, would be astronomical.

Commission members were reluctant to approve the vinyl windows, however, because guidelines mandate any modifications to historic properties match the design, color and other visual qualities of the original elements. They decided to reconvene for a final decision when the property owners could provide a sample of the vinyl.

When the commission met again Jan. 29, it was to consider an amended application from Miller and Sisson to install storm windows rather than replace or rebuild the old windows.

While rebuilding the old windows is typically the best solution, town planner Zachary Steffey said, storm windows are more affordable and energy efficient and they still preserve the historic character of the house. The North Carolina State Preservation Office as well as the majority of municipal historic preservation commissions throughout North Carolina recommends the installation of storm windows, he added.

(Lumina News, 2/4/2015)

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People looking for evidence of bipartisanship in Raleigh, for politicians willing to reach across the aisle and forge partnerships with the other party to address issues facing the state, should take little heart from the forces aligning on historic-preservation tax credits.

The General Assembly, prodded by the Republican leadership in the State Senate, last year let lapse a program that provided state tax credits for businesses or individuals that restored historic properties. The renovations had to follow fairly strict guidelines for retaining the character of the historic structure, and since it was a tax credit, no benefit accrued unless the project was actually carried out.

But the move to restore the tax credits has drawn support from Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, whose long tenure as an urban mayor in Charlotte has given him appreciation for the benefits of the program. His cultural resources secretary, Susan Kluttz, showed up to support the credit Monday at Durham’s preservation gem, the American Tobacco complex.

She was joined by local Democratic state senators Floyd McKissick and Mike Woodard, underscoring the support for the credits across the party divide.

The setting was appropriate – American Tobacco is one of the largest historic-preservation projects in the state and is beyond doubt a major catalyst of the rebirth of downtown Durham. Kluttz called it “a beautiful, beautiful example” of historic renovations that can benefit a city and the state.

It is that clear connection to economic development that makes the credit an attractive cause not just for those who favor preservation on aesthetic or cultural grounds, but on flint-eyed business terms. Simply put, historic preservation can be an investment in economic growth and job creation.

Since 1998, 2,483 tax credit projects have been completed in North Carolina. That has brought “nearly $1.5 billion of private investment into North Carolina communities, boosting local economies and creating jobs, while preserving communities’ historic cores and our state’s priceless historic character,” the state Department of Cultural Resources notes in a fact sheet touting the credits.

Noting the long-term benefit to the state’s coffers, the fact sheet characterized the rehabilitation projects as “like an annuity investment for the state of North Carolina.” It cites a study projecting that the rehab tax credit “would attract 2.5 more jobs at the same cost to the state treasury as an equivalent across the board tax reduction.”

Kluttz, in her visit here Monday, called the tax credit’s disappearance a “crisis in Raleigh.” That it is. An idea that unites people across the political spectrum like this should be an easy lift for this legislature.

Letting it die would be a job-killer.

(Editorial in the Durham Herald-Sun, 2/3/2015)

AHOSKIE – After 38 years since the first Façade Grant Program Initiative was begun in downtown Ahoskie in 1977, and a consulting company came in at that time and actually produced proposed designs that helped begin downtown preservation, the current Town Council is hoping new guidelines can be established for future preservation through the Historic Commission.

At the January Council meeting, Historic Commission chair John Fritz made a presentation before Council of an Ahoskie Preservation Initiative. He brought along Heather Wagner Slane of hmwPreservation, the Durham-based consultant who prepared design guidelines in the past and will assist with the establishment of guidelines for the town in addition to reviewing the guidelines already set forth by the state Historic Preservation Office.

Fritz began with a short historic overview showing the chronology of trying to institute the town’s Preservation Initiative from 1977 to the present day. In 2005-06, when Fritz was appointed to chair the Historic District Commission and expansion documents were prepared, historic designation was given to the old Ahoskie High School on Academy Street in 2009; expansion began with a designation of the Holloman Avenue District (including the old Robert L. Vann School and the Atlantic District Fairgrounds and three or four of the teacher’s houses) in 2011; in 2012 more expansion was approved incorporating portions of Main, First, Church, and Academy Streets to Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital, and maybe more.

(Roanoke-Chowan News Herald, 2/3/2015)

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I was honored to be in Hickory on Jan. 10 for the ribbon-cutting of the former Piedmont Wagon Company, which was brought back to life by Richard Swartzel of Cornerstone United. Congratulations to him, the Hickory Landmark Society, and Mayor Rudy Wright and the city of Hickory for this tremendous accomplishment. It was a joy to be there to celebrate with so many citizens of Hickory.

The history of the building is incredible, representing Hickory’s first major industry and “a key to the town’s growth.” Employing many in the past, its rebirth once again blesses the building with employees. My office reports they were very enthusiastic about the renovation during the entire process.

This project is a perfect example of why the State Historic Tax Credits are critical to North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory’s “Carolina Comeback.” The governor instructed me when he appointed me secretary of the department to use the department to help economic development and job creation. I know of no better way than to promote the return of these credits. Without them, projects such as the Wagon Company, Hollar Mill, Lyerly Mill and Whisnant Mill might not be possible for our communities, large and small. In my travels around the state, I have not found a community yet that could not use help.

North Carolina has a rich history, and North Carolinians value that history and the people who came before us to make this state the great place that it is. This must not be lost as we grow and change. Factories, mills and businesses, such as Piedmont Wagon Company, cannot be forgotten. They are a tie to our past – to our ancestors who worked so hard for us so the future would be bright. These are the places where values and traditions were instilled in many North Carolinians of today.

As you know, we are facing a crisis in Raleigh. The Historic Preservation Tax Credits were allowed to sunset at the end of the year. We must convince the Legislature to bring them back in the upcoming session. Gov. McCrory understands their importance and is supporting a plan which will be less costly to the state.

With his support, we are leading a coalition of mayors, architects, bankers, contractors, downtown developers, small business owners and others, including the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, the N.C. League of Municipalities and Preservation North Carolina, to raise awareness of successes like this one. Since their beginning in 1998, State Historic Tax Credits have resulted in $1.65 billion in private investment in North Carolina. I am touring the state to rally support in urban and rural areas. And we need your help.

I urge you to visit our website at and sign our petition to restore the credits. Also, please contact your legislators and let them know of the urgency. Help us save the past for North Carolina and create a brighter future.

Susan Kluttz is the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources secretary.

(Hickory Daily Record, 2/3/2015)

Durham, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory plans to push a revised tax credit for rehabilitating historic properties across North Carolina in order to resurrect the economic development tool, Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz said Monday.

The credit was eliminated in a tax reform package the General Assembly passed in 2013, and it formally expired on Jan. 1.

Since then, however, the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition has pushed an online petition – it had more than 4,600 signatures as of Monday – to garner support to restore the credit. Kluttz and other administration officials also have backed the tax credit, saying it promotes economic development in both urban centers and rural towns, creating jobs statewide.

(, 2/2/2015)

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DURHAM — Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is touting Durham’s American Tobacco complex as the sort of project that shows why legislators should resurrect the state’s historic-preservation tax credits.

The governor’s cultural resources secretary, Susan Kluttz, toured the facility on Monday in the company of Capitol Broadcasting Co. Vice President Michael Goodmon, Durham’s two state senators and other local officials.

Afterwards, she called the renovated former cigarette factory “a beautiful, beautiful example” of the sort of large-scale redevelopment that benefits not only its host city, but the entire state.

She added that her visit, the 15th or 16th she’s made to major preservation projects across North Carolina in recent weeks, was meant to call public attention to a “crisis in Raleigh” that began when the state’s General Assembly opted to let its tax-credit program expire at the end of 2014.

(Durham Herald-Sun, 2/2/2015)

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HILDEBRAN — Days after Hildebran’s town council voted 4-1 to tear down the town’s nearly century-old school building, the mayor signed a contract for the school’s demolition.

Mayor Jennie Cook said Thursday the town received bids for renovation and demolition before Monday’s vote. She signed a demolition contract Wednesday for $90,000.

Anything that can be salvaged from the building will be, Cook said. That includes lumber, metals and bricks.

Cook said that while the contract gives the demolition business the rights to sell any salvaged materials, the contractor is allowing the town to keep a pallet of bricks to sell themselves. Money raised from the sale of the bricks will be given to the food bank.

The bids for renovation, Cook said, were more than 10 times the bid awarded for the school’s demolition. Bids of $1.2 million and $1.8 million were presented to council, and a third bid crested over $2 million.

Other costs to factor in include asbestos and bat removal. The latter could cost in the neighborhood of $19,000. That money was approved unanimously by council in its Nov. 24 regular meeting, according to meeting minutes.

Cook said there is no date yet for the actual demolition of the building. But she said the land has potential.

(Morganton News-Herald, 1/29/2015)

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Walking into the Bellamy Mansion Museum in downtown Wilmington is a profound journey back into the antebellum South. And guiding you on the trip is the museum’s chief volunteer, Wade Toth.

Toth is the backbone of the volunteer program at the historical mansion, which has been preserved to replicate the world of the Bellamy family. Physician and planter John Dillard Bellamy began construction of the house in 1859 to house his wife, nine children and nine slaves.

Toth is particularly passionate when describing the life of the Bellamy slaves, who were housed in separate quarters restored in 2013. The main house was built using slave labor and their craftsmanship is seen in the decorative plasterwork throughout the house.

(StarNewsOnline, 1/27/2015)

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As lieutenant governor, it is my responsibility to ensure that we protect the treasured history, culture and fabric of our great state. As a registered architect, it is my deep desire and passion to see the buildings that tell the stories of our history be preserved for future generations, while breathing new life into our struggling communities.

The North Carolina historic preservation tax credits, along with local and federal support, ensure that our most treasured, and often most endangered, landmarks have a chance to be renovated and added back into the fabric of our communities.

We have seen the successes of these credits anchoring the reawakening of many of our once-great urban centers into new thriving cities, from Wilmington to Durham and from Winston-Salem to Asheville. We also have seen hope renewed in our small towns, from Little Washington to Hillsborough and from Waxhaw to Waynesville.

Without our commitment to the preservation of our history, many of our landmarks would be lost forever, and their stories with them. In order to teach and share our history, we must first preserve our history.

Many of the buildings that supported the industries that made North Carolina great are the same buildings supporting the new industries transforming our economy – from tobacco manufacturing to biotech engineering and from textile manufacturing to regenerative medicine.

Restored buildings encourage new growth and development that transform and often save communities. During my career as an architect, I moved my company into the American Tobacco Historic District in downtown Durham. It soon proved to be the most desired place to work in the Triangle. The growth that ensued in Durham ensured that the once thriving city became a great place to live, work and play again.

If we want our state to thrive, we will not only invest in its future, we will also invest in its past. Restoring historic preservation tax credits is the most significant way to make that investment. It is, after all, our state’s history. Whom else do we expect to value it more and be more willing to save it than us?

Dan Forest is lieutenant governor of North Carolina.

(Op-Ed for the Fayetteville Observer, 2/1/2015)

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) – Cities across North Carolina, in conjunction with the NC Metro Mayors Coalition, are working towards the reinstatement of the Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit program of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (also known as Historic Tax Credits or HTC).

Concord Mayor Scott Padgett and all seven Concord City Council Members have joined the over 4,400 concerned people who have signed the petition at, supporting the efforts of Governor Pat McCrory and NC Representative Jon Hardister to reinstate the Historic Tax Credit program during the next session of the General Assembly, according to a news release provided to WBTV by the Governor’s Office.

The showpiece for the historic tax preservation credits in Concord is the old Heilig Meyers furniture building.

“We have a project right here in downtown Concord where the value of the building was $100,000, and it was about to get torn down,” Mayor Padgett told WBTV. “Fortunately, by working with a developer and using the historic tax credits, that same building will now be valued at $2.5 million and house some market apartments for more than likely young couples, just breathes new life in downtown Concord.”

A developer, helped by Salisbury bankers Steve and Paul Fisher at F & M Bank are bringing the building back.

(WBTV, 1/30/2015)

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NC Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz’s name was misspelled in the video accompanying this story.

Cities across North Carolina, in conjunction with the NC Metro Mayors Coalition, are working toward the reinstatement of the Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit program of the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office.

Concord Mayor Scott Padgett and City Council members have joined more than 4,400 people, who have signed an online petition supporting the efforts.

McCrory, who spoke to dozens at the Hotel Concord on Friday afternoon, and state Rep. Jon Hardister are pushing to reinstate the program during this session of the General Assembly.

(1/31/2015, Charlotte Observer)

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RALEIGH — North Carolina lawmakers made the right decision when they ended state historic preservation tax credits. Those who support government involvement in preservation efforts should look at local grant programs instead. A new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report features those two findings.

“There is no justification for compelling state taxpayers to subsidize the preservation of historic properties in particular cities or towns,” said report author Sarah Curry, JLF Director of Fiscal Policy Studies. “The purpose of the tax code should be to raise revenue for core government services. It should not be used as a means to redistribute income, favor certain personal behaviors or discourage others, or force taxpayers to be in the economic development game.”

Jan. 1, 2015, marked the last day property owners in North Carolina could claim the state’s historic preservation tax credit. That credit disappeared, or “sunset,” as part of the 2013 state tax reform package that led to lower state tax burdens for the average family in every income group. Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration and some members of the N.C. General Assembly have said they want to revisit the tax credit’s sunset.

Curry dispels a myth about the end of the state tax credit. “The sunset of state tax credits has no impact on the federal tax credit, which had been in place for more than two decades before the state got into the historic preservation tax-credit business,” she said. “The 20 percent federal tax credit still exists today, and taxpayers continue to take advantage of it.”

(1/29/2015, John Locke Foundation)

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By restoring a Lincoln County mill, John and Cyndi Dellinger of Lincolnton have taken their place in the region’s once-thriving textile industry and created a new industry.

It took more than six years to restore Laboratory Mill, also known as the D.E. Rhyne Cotton Mill, south of town. In 1818, the site was the centerpiece of the community that depended on work at the mill for income. Today the building is a popular venue for weddings and special events, something new for Lincoln County.

The project was honored with an award from the Lincoln County Historical Association and Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission. The groups presented 11 awards for preservation at the inaugural Piedmont Companies Corinthian Awards ceremony Nov. 6.

(1/29/2015, Charlotte Observer)

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The Oaklawn School was once a thriving, vibrant educational institution for African Americans in Lincolnton. But, for more than a decade, the building has essentially sat empty, and damage from a roof leak and deterioration have dramatically dimmed what was once a shining light in the community.
That’s all about to change.

Communities in Schools and Blue Ridge Enterprises, a Mount Airy contractor, received approval from county commissioners in November to move forward with a major renovation project, and hope to start offering programs and hosting other community organizations later this year. A groundbreaking ceremony and a tour of the Linden Street facility will be held on Tuesday, beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The project is being largely funded through a $500,000 state community development block grant, a program of the Department of Commerce designed to bolster public infrastructure improvements and renovations, according to the Department of Commerce website.

Lincoln County is kicking in $86,000 and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Rosenwald School Centennial Fund awarded a $20,000 grant.

Oaklawn was built in the early 1920’s through a program founded by Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. According to the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office website, Rosenwald “became aware of the sad state of education among African Americans in the rural South. His response was the establishment of a fund that provided architectural plans and matching grants that helped build more than 5,300 schools from Maryland to Texas between the late 1910s and 1932.”

The Rosenwald School Centennial Fund was created to rehabilitate and preserve those schools.
Communities in Schools executive director Billy Marsh said he expects the facility will host a wide range of programs and groups in addition to CIS work.

(The Lincoln-Times News, 1/27/2015)

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Gov. Pat McCrory sent his secretary of cultural resources to Fayetteville on Tuesday to continue pressuring his fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly to revive a tax credit for people and developers who rehabilitate historic homes and buildings.

The tax credits used to apply to properties such as the Prince Charles Hotel and other downtown buildings. It also has been used on historic homes.

The program ended at the end of 2014 despite a bipartisan effort among lawmakers and city officials to pass a law to keep it going. Proponents think the bill can pass the House, which passed it last year.

But the leader of the Senate, Sen. Phil Berger, and others have said the tax credit runs counter to ongoing efforts to reform and simplify North Carolina’s tax code. Tax loopholes and other tax breaks have been eliminated or reduced in order to give tax cuts to all taxpayers.

The historic property tax break is different, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz said during her visit to Fayetteville. Without it, some failing properties will never be redeveloped because the owners won’t be able to make the finances work, she said.

(Fayetteville Observer, 1/27/2015)

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The Forsyth County commissioners gave their support Monday to an effort to get the Memorial Industrial School site designated as an historic site.

Goler Community Development Corporation is proposing to nominate the Memorial Industrial School site at Horizons Park in Rural Hall for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. If the effort is successful, the site could qualify for federal tax credits, which would be crucial to any future preservation and development projects.

From the 1920s to the ’70s, Memorial Industrial School served as a training school and home for black orphans and children whose parents could not care for them. The Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission unveiled a historical marker at the Memorial Industrial School site in October 2013.

Horizons Residential Care Center, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities, currently occupies the campus under a 99-year lease with the county, which began in 1977.

The Forsyth County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Goler to nominate the property for National Register designation, subject to approval of Horizons.

(Winston-Salem Journal, 1/27/2015)

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New Bern’s Historic Preservation Commission is looking at ways of updating the guidelines for property owners in historic districts.

Tim Thompson, chairman of the New Bern HPC, told board members, aldermen and citizens at a special called work session last Friday afternoon that the HPC decided at an August 2013 meeting to pursue updated guidelines.

Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina and an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also spoke to the group and gave a slide presentation about how other communities from Raleigh to Charlotte are dealing with contemporary construction in historic districts.

Thompson said when the HPC board began identifying areas that needed updates one of the first was permission of demolition by neglect, but there was no way of doing that.

“That led into other things,” Thompson said. “We realized we really needed to update the ordinances. We need to update the guidelines; we need to update the rules and procedures; we need to update the certificate of appropriateness application. …We’re trying to modernize New Bern’s preservation ordinances.”

(New Bern Sun-Journal, 1/27/2015)

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ASHEVILLE – An alternative way to give incentives for preservation of historic buildings suggested by legislators would not work as well as the tax credit law that expired Dec. 31, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz said here Friday.

House Speaker Tim Moore said last week he would consider a grant program to help private owners rehabilitate old buildings and other legislators have also expressed interest in the idea.

Kluttz said she would prefer that the General Assembly authorize a less generous version of the previous tax credit program instead, saying it worked well for years. It offered credits equal to 20 to 40 percent of the cost of a renovation project that owners could take off their taxes once a project was completed and the state certified that the work complied with guidelines to preserve the historic values of a building.

The credits were an important source of funds for dozens of projects in downtown Asheville and Biltmore Village that in turn injected new life and business into both areas. An effort to keep the tax credit program going failed in the legislature last year, but Kluttz has assembled a coalition of preservation and real estate groups to lobby the General Assembly to take action during its long session this year.

(1/23/2015, Asheville Citizen-Times)

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AS A CHILD, UNCG MFA candidate Catherine French spent hours exploring her great-grandfather’s drug store, a plain, vernacular space with mahogany countertops and old-fashioned soda fountains in the small town of Four Oaks, N.C. Since then, she has been fascinated with historic buildings.

Now a graduate student in Interior Ar­chitecture, French, along with her mentor, Travis Hicks, and Preservation Greensboro, Inc., have started a research program called Sustainable Glenwood. Supported by Com­munity-Based grants from UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service Learning, the project aims to reevaluate the potential of some of Greensboro’s most historic homes.

Located just across the railroad tracks from UNCG, the Glenwood neighborhood dates from the early 20th century. For years, a trolley line connected the neighborhood and the downtown business district. The trackless trolley ran between Grove Street and downtown, taking people from their residences to work and shopping. Following a period of neglect in the 1980s and ’90s, many residents abandoned their homes, leaving them uninhabited. But French, who describes herself as the “research nerd of the project,” had another idea: rather than tear these houses down, make them livable again.

(Horizons, the UNCG Graduate School Newsletter, Winter 2015)

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FUQUAY-VARINA — Two or three decades ago, downtowns around western Wake County were largely lifeless. But in the mid-’90s and early 2000s, development picked up, and downtown areas such as those in Cary, Apex and Fuquay-Varina are now filled with mom-and-pop restaurants and boutique shops.

The availability of federal and state tax credits, plus a rejection of suburban sprawl, served as a major impetus for developers willing to take a risk to rehabilitate historic buildings and districts, say those involved in the growth.

But last year, the state put an end to those tax credits for historic buildings, which were available in addition to similar credits from the federal government. The state credits ended Dec. 31, but there is a burgeoning movement to restore them.

Bill Akins, a developer in Fuquay-Varina, used tax credits to renovate several historic buildings in downtown Fuquay-Varina. He said he’s not always a fan of government spending but disagrees with the Republican-led General Assembly’s decision to get rid of the spending on tax credits.

“I’m not a political wonk,” Akins said. “I don’t sit there and study all the nuances of the budget. But it seems like of all the things they blow money on, they could help pay for some historic renovation.”

(Cary News, 1/22/2015)

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RALEIGH — Stone’s Warehouse is set to become one of the largest redevelopment projects the city has seen, and perhaps the surest sign of East Raleigh’s accelerating economic change.

The Raleigh City Council unanimously agreed on Tuesday to sell the sprawling, vacant building to Transfer Company LLC. The matter will return later for a public hearing and final approval of a purchase agreement, where some local leaders and advocates may air concerns about the development.

Transfer is led by a team including “hyper-local” developers Jason Queen, Will Jeffers and Matt Flynn, who have largely focused on what they call Olde East Raleigh. They’re joined by Steve Schuster, the founder of the Clearscapes design firm.

“I’m happy for the community. I live in the community, not even a block away from the site,” Queen said on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m really excited that we were essentially able to bootstrap this development with the community’s backing.”

The proposal would pack the warehouse and adjacent property on the 500 block of East Davie Street with a neighborhood grocery store and cafe, a community hall and space for a handful of small food producers.

Among them would be Videri Chocolate Factory, Locals Seafood, Jubala Coffee, Boulted Bread and an “incubator kitchen” run by HQ Raleigh, according to Transfer. They share a “social” mindset, Queen said.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 1/21/2015)

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RALEIGH — Spurred on by Gov. Pat McCrory, who has assembled a coalition to restore discontinued historic preservation tax credits, state Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Klutz on Thursday directed her statewide whistle-stop tour to Eden, home of Senate leader Phil Berger.

The push for legislation giving new life to the historic preservation tax credits that were sunset Dec. 31 is expected to be riddled with politics.

While in Eden, Klutz “had a great conversation with the mayor, his planning staff, and some Main Street committee members about the economic benefits of historic tax credits and their local value to these communities,” said Cary Cox, spokesman at the Department of Cultural Resources.

“Our plan is to go to most communities over the next few months throughout the state to highlight the tax credit projects,” Cox said.

Berger’s office did not respond to a question asking if the Eden Republican saw any political motives in Klutz’s early choice of his hometown in her tour promoting the tax credit. Eden accounted for less than one-half of 1 percent of all private investment generated statewide by projects using the incentive.

Berger spokeswoman Shelly Carver said the Senate leader’s position on the tax credit has not changed since he and newly installed House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, discussed it during a Wednesday news conference.

“The decision was made in the context of tax reform” to end the historic preservation tax credit in the last session, Berger said, acknowledging some lawmakers would like to revisit that and other decisions to terminate or reduce various incentives and carve-outs.

“Let’s let the session move forward and see what kinds of proposals are out there,” Berger said.

“There’s talk about a grant program” to fund a second life for historic preservation incentives rather than allowing a tax credit to be deducted from personal income taxes, “so there might be some discussions about that,” Moore said.

Berger and Moore acknowledged the state budget is between $190 million and $200 million short of revenue projections, and part of that is due to personal income tax rate reductions to 5.75 percent in 2015 from a range of 6.0 to 7.75 percent in 2013.

“As an Appropriations [Committee] chair, predictability in budget is an important thing, and one of the things with tax credits is it gives you unpredictability of what it’s going to cost,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow.

“So that’s why grant programs are being looked at instead of tax incentives more. I think you’ll continue to see that approach maybe because it does create predictability when it comes to budgeting,” Brown said.

McCrory has made no secret of his displeasure with the General Assembly’s refusal to extend the life of the historic preservation tax credit in the last session. After lawmakers finalized the budget in August he held a news conference in which he said he was “very disappointed.”

“We are going to come back and pass historical tax credits” in the long session, McCrory vowed at the time. He also hinted on several occasions that he might recall lawmakers for a special lame-duck session to consider restoring tax credits for historic preservation and film production costs.

The governor guaranteed he would conduct another study to show the historic preservation tax credit produces a good return on investments, and said it “has nothing to do with tax reform. There is no connection to impacting the tax reform policy.”

Since then he has drawn together a coalition comprising the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, North Carolina League of Municipalities, Preservation North Carolina, architects, bankers, and developers. He designated Klutz, whose department includes the State Historic Preservation Office, as the administration’s point person.

Klutz did not respond to requests for an interview. But in a televised interview last week on Time Warner Cable News’ “Capital Tonight” program, she called the tax credit “an economic tool” that is “critical to the Carolina Comeback.”

Touting a motto of “Old Buildings Equal New Jobs,” and a website at where a petition to reinstate the program had drawn nearly 3,500 signatures by late Friday, Klutz said she is touring the state on “an awareness campaign.”

She is visiting sites that have benefited from the tax credit, seeking venues that could be aided by extending the program, and hoping to stir grass-roots energy to pressure lawmakers to bring the program back, she said on the televised interview.

The 2,484 projects using the state and federal historic preservation tax credits in 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have generated $1.69 billion in private investment since 1998, according to the Cultural Resources Department.

Many historic buildings sit vacant, and will continue deteriorating without financial incentives such as the historic preservation tax credit, according to Scott Mooneyham, spokesman for the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

“They become a blight. Sometimes they are areas that attract crime because they are abandoned,” Mooneyham said. State incentives that encourage private investment, jobs, and economic development, and at the same time preserve parts of history, should be encouraged, he said.

“Vital vibrant downtowns make for vital, vibrant cities, and vibrant cities make for a vibrant state economy, so we just think it’s almost really a no-brainer to do something in this regard,” Mooneyham said.

“Oh my God, yes” state Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover, said when asked if historic preservation tax credits aided her district. According to the Cultural Resources Department, where she worked when the state tax credits were created in the late 1990s, 155 projects have generated $36.6 million in private investment.

One marquee project was the old Masonic Temple on Wilmington’s Front Street, where a popular rooftop bar and community theater now operate.

“If we would have lost that Masonic building in downtown Wilmington it would have just wiped out the entire block, and we were headed down that direction,” Hamilton said, “and now it’s a huge income-producing property.”

Tarboro has created “an economy … as a result of historic preservation tax credits. That’s probably as fine an example as anywhere in the state,” she said.

Whether it’s Wilmington, Asheville, Todd, or Selma, communities of all sizes benefited from the tax credit, said Hamilton, a former downtown development director in Wilmington.

“I believe that is why the governor shifted his position, because the rural communities want historic preservation tax credits as bad as the urban areas do,” she said.

State Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover, said he has “a real problem” with the way incentives are dished out in North Carolina, but said he would keep an open mind on the historic preservation tax credit debate that he expects to resurface in the current session.

“I have not done a return on investment analysis on that yet, but it is something I’m going to look at,” Catlin said. He recognizes the cost of preserving or restoring a historical building is high, and saving them without the tax credit is a challenge.

“I don’t want to create a situation where people just bulldoze down old houses and old buildings to build something new,” Catlin said.

Dan E. Way (@danway_carolina) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.

(Carolina Journal, 1/19/2015)

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Tax credits for historic preservation are a proven job-creating tool the General Assembly should revisit.

State and federal incentives are cited as a vital component in the revitalization of both Biltmore Village and downtown Asheville. “Biltmore Village would not have been restored without those tax credits,” Asheville architect Robert Griffin said.

The state credit allowed owners to deduct from their state taxes 20 percent of the cost of renovating a commercial building and 30 percent of the cost for a home. The rates were higher for historic mills or agricultural warehouses.

The credits cost the state an average of $26.6 million a year since 2011, according to the Department of Revenue. Since 1998 credits have been used in projects totaling $1.68 billion in investment, according to the Department of Cultural Resources. Buncombe County led the state with $102.4 million of that activity.

Among local landmarks that have benefited are the Kress Buildings, Battery Park Apartments and the Grove Arcade downtown, as well as several buildings in Biltmore Village and historic homes in various neighborhoods.

(Asheville Citizen-Times, 1/20/2015)

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ASHEVILLE – Local and statewide groups are pushing for the restoration of a tax break some say was crucial to the revitalization of downtown and Biltmore Village and could still be used to improve historic buildings across Buncombe County.

Without state and federal tax credits given to those who rehabilitate historic buildings, “It would be a whole ‘nother world out there” in downtown Asheville, says local architect Patti Glazer.

Buncombe County has led North Carolina in the use of state credits, with 68 projects involving renovation expenses of $102.4 million qualifying since 1998, according to the Department of Cultural Resources.

That list includes downtown icons like the Kress Building, Battery Park Apartments and the Grove Arcade, several buildings in Biltmore Village and restored historic homes in Montford and other neighborhoods in the city and rural areas.

(Asheville Citizen-Times, 1/18/2015)

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CONCORD, N.C. — Construction crews are working to convert an old furniture store in downtown Concord to an apartment complex, but developers say the end of state historic tax credits is keeping them from pursuing other potential projects.

Rehab Builders LLC has cleared out the former Heilig-Myers furniture building on the corner of Cabarrus Avenue and Church Street. Workers have erected the framing for 26 apartments on the two upper floors.

The owner is listed as Church Street Lofts LLC, but that probably won’t be the final name, said Patrick Reilly, president of site developer Rehab Development. The company has publicized a naming contest “to see what name the community likes most.”

Crews are blowing out bricks to restore historic windows, patching the beadboard ceiling, replacing rotten wood planks and prepping for electricity and plumbing. Construction is expected to be complete by August.

“The building is actually in good shape,” said site superintendent Donnie Moore as he described the layout.

(Independent Tribune, 1/18/2015)

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It was a beauty before it became an eyesore, and it came within days of being a vacant lot. But 919 Spring Garden Street is now becoming a beauty again — and a major success story in neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation.

The 1904 home, heavily damaged in a 2011 fire, sat vacant and open to the elements for years. When I first wrote about the house in 2013, it was still filled with water-damaged clothes, furniture and personal items left by the tenants after the fire.

One of its saving graces was that it was then owned by College Place United Methodist Church. When they learned the house could be saved, members agreed to work with Preservation Greensboro to find a buyer instead of tearing it down.

(News & Record, 1/19/2015)

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“Should I tell him the ‘Tooth Story’?”

Susan Kluttz already had my full attention well before asking her colleagues that particular question. But going into Thursday morning, that wasn’t a done deal. After all, the director of North Carolina’s Department of Cultural Resources made an appointment at around Thanksgiving to drop by our office in Burlington for a chat. The planned topic of conversation for this Jan. 15 visit? Tax credits.


It might have been the tryptophan hangover from all that holiday turkey, but even hearing one of Kluttz’s assistants say “tax credits” out loud caused me to reach for a pot of coffee with a Red Bull chaser in self-defense.

But by the time she got around to asking whether the “Tooth Story” was worth sharing with a newspaper editor she had known for less than 30 minutes, those early nodding off fears were set well aside. She had my attention and then some.

Our route to the so-called “Tooth Story” is a lesson in the dynamics of American discussion, anecdote and digression. We started with Historic Tax Credits and somehow wound up talking about the bizarre practices of a long-gone dentist in Salisbury and how it relates to rehabbing old buildings.

(Times-News, 1/16/2015)

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FLAT ROCK — Flat Rock’s history has been well documented in books, stories and newspaper columns for decades. Now the village is on the verge of being recognized as a large historic district.

An updated nomination and boundary adjustment of a National Register designation approved 41 years ago is expected to be approved soon by the National Park Service.

Nominated in 1973, the original Flat Rock Historic District application contained a fraction of the detail the new nomination boasts. The 1973 district nomination, one of the first in North Carolina, focused on “the big beautiful estate homes and drew a big line around them with just a dot or two of documentation,” said Connie Backlund, who since her retirement as the chief ranger of the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site has led the Historic Flat Rock effort to fully document the village’s rich architectural and cultural history.

State Historic Preservation officer Kevin Cherry signed off on the updated nomination on Dec. 1. It’s now pending at the National Park Service.

“All is done except the final review,” Backlund told the Village Council last month. “The state is the initial and primary reviewer. The National Park Service is the keeper of the list.”

The new report documents hundreds of historic properties. It’s the product of a stunning load of research, study and interviews, covering 430 pages and listing every property, whether historically significant or not. Clay Griffith of Acme Preservation Services in Asheville, called it the most complicated nomination form he had ever worked on, Backlund said.

The period of significance dates from 1827 to 1964, so many homes thought of as modern and quite ordinary are listed in the nomination.

“If it was built in that time then it can be contributing,” Backlund said. “It has to maintain its integrity. In other words, it cannot have been messed up.”

(Hendersonville Lightning, 1/18/2015)

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Drawing attention to historic preservation projects that have worked in the past and a big one they hope will work in the future, Hendersonville’s mayor and City Council are mounting a public effort to urge the revival of a historic tax credit program that ended on Dec. 31.

The General Assembly repealed the state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and cities across the state are lobbying legislators resurrect it. During a visit from state Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz, Mayor Barbara Volk and the council will advocate for restoring the program, which has stimulated $3.5 million worth of renovation work in Henderson County.

City Manager John Connet invited business, government and community leaders to join the mayor and council in the effort, which starts at 1 p.m. Thursday at City Hall and will continue on to the Grey Hosiery Mill. Although the tax credits have expired, the city was able to get a letter from the state Department of Cultural Resources certifying that the mill project would be eligible for the financial incentives. The City Council last year agreed to convey the property to a private partnership if the developer could create a viable project. The council authorized Preservation North Carolina to guide the effort.

(Hendersonville Lightning, 1/18/2015)

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Greensboro has an asset few North Carolina cities can claim.

Charlotte doesn’t have it. Raleigh doesn’t have it. And they can’t get it, either.

It can’t be duplicated or recreated, and it can’t be moved somewhere else, like a corporate headquarters or factory jobs.

It’s a sense of place rooted in history and captured through historic preservation, thanks in large part to historic tax credits provided by the state.

“These places provide an emotional connection to the past,” said Tucker Bartlett, executive vice president of Self Help, which bought historic Revolution Mill in 2012.

(Greensboro News & Record, 1/16/2015)

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State leaders are looking toward history to help provide jobs and boost North Carolina’s economy.

For years, Rowan County residents received a double-dose of historic rehabilitation tax credits, but after North Carolina’s credit expired at the end of 2014, only federal reimbursements remained. The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources now hopes to bring the credit back, but at a lower minimum percentage.

“As mayor of Salisbury and working with developers, who would come in to rehab buildings, they would tell me all the time that there was no way the numbers would work without the tax credits and they wouldn’t be there without the tax credits” said Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “Everywhere I have been in the state, large or small, is in need of the state tax credits.”

(Salisbury Post, 1/16/2015)

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STATEWIDE — Now that the state legislature is back in session, advocates are hoping lawmakers will consider restoring historic tax credits.

The program, which previously provided incentives to individuals who restored historic structures and met certain criteria, expired at the end of 2014.

An online petition calling for the credits’ reinstatement has received more than 3,000 signatures since it opened last week.

“What we have to convince legislators of is while the goal of having a lower tax rate by eliminating the carve-outs is a laudable goal, this particular credit is really important to job creation in all of our cities and towns across the state,” said Julie White, executive director of the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Association.

The organization is sponsoring and organizing the petition.

Based on information from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, historic credits have been used in 90 of the state’s 100 counties and have generated more than $1 billion in private investment since 1998.

(Time Warner Cable, 1/14/2014)

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An envoy of Gov. Pat McCrory visited a redeveloped hospital here Monday to kick off a statewide tour in support of preserving historic properties.

N.C. Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz wants the General Assembly to reinstate the historic tax credits program that was allowed to expire at the end of 2014. Without it, hundreds of meaningful mills, homes, churches and other structures across the state would not have been restored to become the revenue-producing success stories they are today, she said.

Kluttz said McCrory’s revised program would cost less than the one the GOP-led legislature decided last year was too costly and ineffective. She and the governor worked six months with the Department of Commerce to come up with the proposal and plan to roll it out in the coming weeks before the legislative long session begins in Raleigh.

(The Gaston Gazette, 1/12/2015)

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Curt Stiles and his wife Sharon live in a downtown Wilmington house that’s got someone else’s name on the front. The plaque explains that the South Second Street home was originally inhabited by William Wright in 1830.

And when your home is that old, “that means expensive renovation and expensive work, and the tax credits make it where that’s feasible and affordable,” Stiles said.

But the state historic preservation tax credits that helped Stiles renovate his home in 2006 ended last month. Gov. Pat McCrory and Wilmington City Council are among those pushing the state legislature to give the program a second life.

Historic preservation advocates say the credits created a ripple effect throughout the economy – benefiting building contractors who did the work and attracting tourists drawn to the downtown district.

In Wilmington alone, more than $46 million has been invested in historic preservation tax credit projects, with $38 million spent on commercial properties, according to the city.

(WECT, 1/12/2015)

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After efforts last year to strip cities and towns of zoning powers and tax revenue, mayors across North Carolina will be keeping a close eye on Jones Street this year.

The repeal of the privilege license tax on businesses will leave a hole in many municipal budgets, and Gov. Pat McCrory has promised to help find other revenue sources. One option is a special sales tax that would apply within city limits – a taxing power municipalities don’t currently have.

If the legislature doesn’t help cities plug the privilege tax hole, local leaders have said they’ll likely raise property taxes starting in July.

(Charlotte Observer, 1/10/2015)

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Portions of Dryborough may soon have a national historic designation and become part of New Bern’s Downtown Historic District.

A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Charlotte Rhone Culture Center at 608 West St. to provide information about the nomination process.

The city was awarded a $15,000 grant from the State Historic Preservation Office in July to start the process of national historic recognition for Dryborough.

New Bern and the State Historic Preservation Office contracted with Longleaf Historic Resources to conduct a survey and start the nomination process.

Ethel Staten, a life-long resident of Dryborough, has worked on getting the last portions of community on the National Register for a year.

(New Bern Sun Journal, 1/10/2015)

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A group of 26 North Carolina mayors, including those from the Triad’s four largest cities, have started a petition drive to prod state Republican legislative leaders into restoring two popular historic preservation tax credits.

Legislators did not include an extension in the state budget for 2014-15, allowing the tax credits to expire Dec. 31.

The goal of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition’s petition ( is building momentum for a bill expected to be introduced early in the General Assembly’s long session.

“North Carolina will not restore this program without your help,” the coalition said. The website does not show how many petitions have been submitted.

(Greensboro News & Record, 1/8/2015)

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RALEIGH — A state representative reported on Twitter on Sunday night that there was a potential deal between the city and state governments on the 308-acre Dorothea Dix property south of downtown Raleigh.

“We have a deal on Dix Park! Press conference tomorrow at noon,” the account of Rep. Duane Hall posted at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Hall is a Raleigh Democrat representing District 11 in the state House of Representatives.

The city and state governments have negotiated for years over plans to turn the former psychiatric hospital campus into a crown-jewel park for Raleigh. The current round of negotiations began last March, when Raleigh offered to buy the entire 308 acres for $37.93 million. The state countered in April, proposing a price of $52.2 million for 244 acres.

Months later, Gov. Pat McCrory said that the two sides seemed to be further apart. The city of Raleigh made its most recent bid in September, offering $52 million for the entire property. However, disagreements remained on how much land would be included in the deal.

The Raleigh City Council held a closed-session discussion last Tuesday of the potential purchase of “park” property adjacent to Western Boulevard, matching the description of the Dix property. The Raleigh City Council was scheduled for a special meeting at 9 a.m. Monday morning, according to the city website.

Members of the Raleigh City Council were not immediately available for comment Sunday night, nor was Hall.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 1/11/2015)

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With a few weeks to go before the state legislature gets back to business, proponents of historic preservation tax credits launched a petition drive this week to bring back the program.

The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition – which represents 26 of the state’s largest municipalities – launched the website with help from Raleigh tech company Cityzen.

“North Carolina’s historic tax credits create economic opportunity across the state, turning old buildings into new centers of development,” the site says. “North Carolina will not restore this program without your help.”

Gov. Pat McCrory announced last month that he’s formed a “coalition” with Metro Mayors, the N.C. League of Municipalities, real-estate developers and architects to lobby the legislature.

McCrory has said the state Senate is the biggest obstacle for the program; Senate leader Phil Berger has said its “inconsistent” with the simplified tax policy approved by the legislature.

McCrory’s cultural resources secretary, Susan Kluttz, promoted the petition drive in her first post on Twitter Tuesday morning.

The petition doesn’t show how many people have signed so far.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 1/6/2015)

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AUTRYVILLE – The Yankees took the food.

Nearly a century later, Hurricane Hazel took the porch and chimney.

But today – more than 150 years after Thomas Bullard build the home that would bear his name – the Federal-Greek Revival farmhouse in Sampson County still looks remarkably as it did.

That faithful preservation helped the 1856 structure’s claim as one of only 17 properties statewide to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The properties were reviewed by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee, then approved by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation officer and forwarded to the National Register.

In the case of the Thomas Bullard House, the committee chose a building important to history and the region. The home stands about halfway between Autryville and Roseboro, in southeastern Sampson County. It was an important landmark in what was known as the Hayne community.

(The Fayetteville Observer, 1/4/2015)

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The Historic Wilmington Foundation has scheduled the first in a planned series of preservation talks.

N.C. Reps. Susi Hamilton and Ted Davis will headline the inaugural talk slated for Tuesday.

Hamilton, a Democrat, and Davis, a Republican, will speak about historic preservation tax credits in the state legislature.

The tax credit program that’s seen support in Wilmington expired at the end of the year. Supporters aren’t giving up yet.

“We’re going to push hard to get the credits back,” said George Edwards, the executive director of the foundation. The foundation is working to schedule three future talks featuring David La Vere, professor of history at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; Beth Pancoe, the president/CEO of SDI Construction of Wilmington; and other speakers.

(Star News, 1/4/2015)

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HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — Hendersonville officials are researching the history of Berkeley Mills Park in hope of getting the ballpark on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Times-News of Hendersonville reports the first step is to get the park on the state of North Carolina’s preservation study list. Administrative assistant Lu Ann Welter in the city’s planning department says that at one time, textile mills sponsored baseball teams that played each other. In Hendersonville, one team was the Berkeley Spinners.

The grandstands remain much as they were when the team played from 1948 to 1961, although the dugouts are no longer below ground.

The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission is applying for a grant to help fund a more detailed report for the application.

(, 1/2/2015)

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Governor McCrory and others are advocating the restoration of the historic preservation tax credit. They raise the larger question of how North Carolina can have tax reform (that supposedly closes loopholes) while allowing loopholes?

For decades it’s been obvious that North Carolina’s tax codes, first written in 1939, needed overhauling. Like ornaments on a Christmas tree we’ve added and revised one provision after another. The task of tax reform would have been much simpler had our policymakers wiped the screen clean and started from the beginning. More expedient, more efficient, even more intelligent, but a politically impossible task to achieve.

Credit legislative leaders for at least undertaking tax reform, but the net result of their 2013 efforts amounted to little more than tax cuts, a few expanded sales tax categories and the closure of a very few loopholes. There were some 320 tax exemptions, exceptions or preferences on the books, the ornaments we’ve hung on our tax tree. If eliminated altogether these loopholes would add some $9.2 billion a year to the state treasury. Some included popular breaks like the standard income tax deduction and personal income tax exemption, but many were industry specific, applied to nonprofits and favored specific businesses, including economic incentives given to companies to locate or expand in our state.

(Jefferson Post, 12/20/2014)

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The town of Matthews is among three U.S. municipalities and counties added to the list of Preserve America communities.

The announcement was made from the White House on behalf of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Joining Matthews with the recognition were Woodstock, Ill., and Middlesborough, Ky.

Officials cited Matthews for maintaining its historic past despite the pressure of development as a Charlotte suburb. The town was recognized for its historic festivals, downtown walking tours and the opening of the Matthews Heritage Museum in 2013.

(The Charlotte Observer, 12/22/2014)

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RALEIGH — It’s a few minutes past the scheduled start time of Steve Schuster’s early December meeting with city of Raleigh staff, where he’ll give an update on his architectural firm’s plans for Union Station, the city’s most ambitious building project since the completion of the new Raleigh Convention Center in 2008.

At a third of the cost of the convention center, the first phase of Union Station is seen by its supporters as no less important to the continuing revitalization of downtown Raleigh. It will replace the existing Amtrak station just as Amtrak increases its train service and ridership, bringing to 293,000 the number of passengers expected to pass through Raleigh each year by 2019. In decades to come, the station also will serve commuter and high-speed rail, and buses.

The corners of Schuster’s eyes crinkle with a smile when he talks about the Union Station complex, a new gateway to Raleigh and a catalyst that could spark hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of private investment in the west side of downtown. It will be functional but grand, centered around a renovated mid-20th-century steel fabrication plant that Schuster calls an “industrial cathedral.” He envisions shops and restaurants and public spaces so inviting that people will come there even if they never board a train.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 12/27/2014)

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The future of a popular tax credit for historic mill preservation may come down to how much it is missed by developers, companies and communities – and most importantly, legislators – after it expires Dec. 31.

The fear among supporters, who include Gov. Pat McCrory and Susan Kluttz, secretary of N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, is that the longer it takes for the resurrection initiative to be accomplished in the General Assembly, the more discouraged developers may become and opt to abandon potential viable projects.
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State legislative leaders chose not to include an extension in the state budget for 2014-15.

U.S. Sen.-elect Thom Tillis, R-N.C, said in July while serving as House Speaker that the Republican-controlled legislature was more focused on preserving its “principles of tax reform.” The principles have at their core the premise that lowering the overall tax rate is more beneficial to businesses and the economy than tax credits.

Two tax credits for historic structures are set to expire in North Carolina.

(The Winston-Salem Journal, 12/16/2014)

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Gov. Pat McCrory helped launch a new campaign Monday to renew a tax credit that supporters say has helped lure $1.5 billion in private investments.

McCrory joined Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz on a conference call with developers, preservationists and municipal representatives to jump-start a campaign to renew the Historic Preservation Tax Credits, which expire Jan. 1.

“The historic tax credit is a vital tool to redevelop not only cities like Charlotte but small towns throughout North Carolina,” the governor told reporters in Charlotte.

(The Charlotte Observer, 12/15/2014)

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Gov. Pat McCrory called on state legislators this week to restore tax credits for historic preservation projects, saying the Senate will likely be the biggest obstacle.

“I need every one of you to be working the halls,” McCrory told a meeting of the N.C. League of Municipalities on Thursday, adding that he’s putting together a “coalition” of architects, real-estate professionals and town leaders. “We have to get the historic tax credit back.”

Republicans decided not to continue the credit as they overhauled the state tax code, reducing income tax rates for individuals and businesses while eliminating various tax credits.

In his 2015 budget proposal, McCrory included a less expensive version of the historic preservation program that reduced tax credit percentages and capped eligible rehabilitation expenditures at $20 million. The governor’s plan garnered support in the state House but died in the Senate.

“I do not believe the historic tax credit impacts the purity of our tax reform,” McCrory said Thursday.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 12/12/12014)

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North Carolina’s Historic Preservation Tax Credits, which expire next month, face an uphill climb in the General Assembly despite the support of the governor and the man expected to be the next House speaker.

State officials say the credits have leveraged nearly $1.5 billion in private investments in North Carolina since 1998, including the conversion of several Charlotte textile mills.

The credits expire Jan. 1.

“I would either bring that back or some other mechanism to encourage historic preservation,” said Republican Rep. Tim Moore, expected to be elected speaker next month.

(Charlotte Observer, 12/12/2014)

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High Point, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory was in High Point today for the grand opening of the North American Headquarters of BuzziSpace, a manufacturer of high-end office furniture. The move, and the 113 jobs and nearly $2 million investment, was announced just 10 months ago. The headquarters will be located and operate out of the old Pickett Cotton Mill in downtown High Point. Governor McCrory used the grand opening to highlight the importance of the Historic Tax Credit, which will sunset at the end of the month.

“This was my third time at the historic old Pickett Cotton Mill and each time I visit, I see the mill and surrounding areas starting to rebound because of the impressive investment from BuzziSpace,” said Governor McCrory. “This area was once booming with a flurry of activity but has sat idle for decades until now, thanks to BuzziSpace. Secretary Susan Kluttz and I want to mimic what we see here today across the state, and that’s exactly why the historic tax credit is so important to North Carolina.”

Since 1998, federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credit projects have brought nearly $1.5 billion of private investment into North Carolina through an impressive 2,483 projects. Historic rehabilitation projects have taken place in 90 of our 100 counties, from rural to suburban communities.

“Historic preservation incentives are critical to the rebirth of rural and urban downtowns,” said Susan Kluttz, secretary of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. “Jobs are created and economic development occurs when abandoned buildings are reborn into apartments, shops and business spaces. We’ve seen this happen across North Carolina, in both small towns and large cities. These incentives also preserve our unique history and community fabric.”

The Fayetteville Observer and Winston-Salem Journal recently highlighted the importance of the historic tax credit. Below are highlights from editorials.

Fayetteville Observer: McCrory right to seek restored tax credits

“Cities like Fayetteville saw the historic character of their older districts preserved at the same time that residential and commercial redevelopment was taking place. The credits helped revitalize areas that otherwise faced a continuing spiral into decay and blight.

“Gov. Pat McCrory said last week that he was displeased. McCrory would like to see a modified version of the credit approved early next year.

“As the Fayetteville experience shows, the credits are valuable to large urban communities with aging downtowns and historic residential districts. But McCrory also correctly notes their potential for bolstering the economies and boosting the civic pride of smaller communities.

“In small-town North Carolina, the appearance of the strength of … the centers of town, shows the strength of the region,” the governor said. “And you’ve got old historic buildings that are empty and blighted, and yet we’ve got potential investors who want to revitalize that, and we’ve had that…. (The historic tax credit) was eliminated in this legislative session and we’ve got to bring it back.”

“Lawmakers need to see that these credits aren’t just for cities like Fayetteville and Wilmington, but can also offer new life to towns like Red Springs, Maxton, Elizabethtown or Lilington.

“Either way, they bring construction work and new businesses, both of which mean jobs. And creating jobs is worth forgoing a few tax dollars.”

Winston-Salem Journal: Preservation tax credits: McCrory right on retaining them

“We’re with Gov. Pat McCrory on retaining historic preservation tax credits for North Carolina.

“McCrory recently traveled to the historic Pickett Cotton Mill in High Point to announce his support for salvaging the historic preservation tax credit programs that are set to expire at the end of this year, Greensboro’s News & Record reported. He’s included the credits in his proposed budget.

“These tax credits have been used to develop several properties in our own downtown, including Wake Forest BioTech Place and the old Forsyth County Courthouse, which developers have just begun to convert to apartments. Developers can apply for them to offset the cost of renovating historic properties if they agree to retain significant architectural features that keep the spirit of the structures alive. It’s an important economic tool that encourages development and, for a city that honors its past even as it moves into the future, a way to preserve a bit of history.

“We’d like to see the full amount retained – we could use them to spur on some large projects downtown – but support the governor in his attempt to keep some form of the tax credits alive. He sees their importance; let’s hope he can convince the legislature.”

(From the Office of the Governor, 12/11/2014)

Wilmington – By this time next year, a 165-year-old structure at the corner of S. Front and Ann streets in downtown Wilmington could be gone.

The city was granted a preliminary injunction in Superior Court on Dec. 1 that prohibits Mark S. Evans, the owner, and Peter Koke from demolishing the house at 226 S. Front St. “or otherwise engaging in work requiring a valid permit or certificate of appropriateness as required by Wilmington City Code” and state law, according to court documents.

This summer, fines began to mount related to the violation of a stop-work order issued for the property, which is in an historic district and zoned Central Business District (CBD). The house was built in 1849.

In November, Koke filed an application on behalf of Evans for a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the building, saying in a letter to Dawn Snotherly, historic preservation planner for the City of Wilmington, “It is my intention to demolish the building if I am unable to get all fines, inspection fees, penalties, permit fees, and any or all other costs levied by the City of Wilmington, waived.”

Koke also requested permission in the letter “to replace doors, temporary fencing, windows, deck and rear dormers, improve landscaping and the installation of wrought iron fencing.”

City records show that citations to date for 226 S. Front St. amount to $7,000, and citations for the adjacent 222 S. Front St. total $700, according to Malissa Talbert, city spokeswoman.

Koke said he disagrees that anything done to the building recently has been in violation.

“There was nothing done to the property that needed a permit,” Koke said.

At its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the city’s Historic Preservation Commission is expected to consider the intent to demolish application, listed under items of new business on the panel’s agenda. A certificate of appropriateness for the demolition would come with a 365-day stay, and Koke said he is not asking for a reduction of that.

On Monday, Koke said he wouldn’t want to demolish the property, but its fate depends on the city and the financial feasibility.

“Make no mistake about it, the city holds the keys on whether the building is saved or not,” Koke said.

He said the plan for the property, which in the past was home to a restaurant called Taste of Country and a gallery, was to turn it into a spa and gym while keeping the house’s historic character intact.

(WilmingtonBiz, 12/8/2014)


While the decrease in North Carolina film incentives has gotten a lot of press, the expiration of the state’s historic preservation tax credits on Dec. 31 could have an even broader impact on Wilmington and the state. The 2014 legislative session ended without renewing the tax credits.

Figures from the state Department of Cultural Resources show that since the state’s 20 percent historic preservation tax credits took effect in 1998, 61 historic commercial properties in Wilmington have been rehabilitated, with a total investment of $18,550,000.

These include the old Efird’s Department Store (now owned by Self-Help Credit Union) at 272 N. Front St., for $4.7 million, the Murchison National Bank building at 201 N. Front St. for $2 million and the William Hooper School at 410 Meares St. for $1.6 million.

The former Efird’s store and the Murchison building have business tenants, while the William Hooper School renovated by the late Windell Daniels provides apartments for the elderly.

Also expiring is North Carolina’s 30 percent residential preservation tax credit, which has helped restore 55 homes in Wilmington with a total investment of nearly $10 million since 1998.

(Wilmington Star News, 12/9/2014)

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Less than a week before the Mount Airy Restoration Foundation presents its annual Christmas Holiday House Tour, preparations in the stately homes on the tour range from putting up evergreen garlands to installing granite steps, hanging wallpaper, painting trim and hauling furniture.

This year three of the nine homes on the tour are on the 600 block of North Main Street between Elm Street and Rawley Avenue. Tour organizer Betty Wright says “we’re having a block party.” Wright says that tour participants will be able to park on the street and see all three houses without having to move their car. The J.D. Sargent house at 619 North Main, now owned by Fredrick Johnson and used by Johnson and his son as their law office, has been on the tour twice before but Cheryl Ward’s home at 607 North Main and Chris and Pam Bastin’s 618 North Main are both making their house tour debut.

(Mount Airy News, 12/3/2014)

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KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – Doré Korner’s historic bedroom in Korner’s Folly has been called the Rose Room for as long as anyone can remember, but until recently, its caretakers did not know the original paint shade that had given the room its name, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Now a restoration project is underway to return the room to its former glory – the look Jule Korner gave it in 1905 when renovating it for Doré, his daughter.

The Rose Room is the first of the historic home’s 22 rooms to undergo restoration.

(Fox8 WHGP, 11/16/2014)

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MURFREESBORO – A lot of research….40 years to be precise….will be the subject of a book tracing the rich history of Hertford County.

“West Of The Chowan: The Architectural History Of Hertford County, North Carolina” is an undertaking of the Murfreesboro Historical Commission, Inc. This Commission was formed in the late 1960′s but has just recently been designated a 501(c) 3 charitable corporation by the IRS in order to obtain favored tax status to encourage private and corporate contributions.

According to Lynn Johnson, a member of the Murfreesboro Historical Commission, the Federal Government passed the Historic Preservation Act in 1966, one mandating that each state conduct an inventory of its historic resources and list significant buildings and sites on a National Register of historic places.

“These surveys, done by every state in all counties, has taken more than 40 years and the survey for Hertford County was completed in 2011, after several attempts by different people,” Johnson said.

At a meeting of the Commission in the Fall of 2011, a suggestion was made by a representative of the North Carolina Historic Sites Division of the Department of Archives and History that the Murfreesboro group tackle the project of publishing the Hertford County Survey in book form.

(Roanoke-Chowan Hews Herald, 11/30/2014)

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A Belmont committee is exploring whether the city should move to further protect properties in a historic district in and around downtown.

The district, including 45 blocks and more than 250 historically significant buildings, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But such a designation does not ensure their preservation, leaving open the possibility that they could face significant changes and even demolition.

“If they want to tear that building down, there’s nothing to stop them,” Lucy Penegar, vice chairwoman of the Gaston County Historic Preservation Commission.

Among the options the city-appointed committee is weighing is creating a historic preservation commission that would oversee any locally designated historic districts and landmarks, requiring that they meet certain standards. The commission also could decide to take no further action.

All nominations of properties for historic designation are overseen by the county preservation commission, requiring public hearings and subject to state review. The county recommends those nominated as historic landmarks receive permission from their owners.

The committee is scheduled to meet with Belmont officials at a regular meeting on Dec. 1. A decision is expected by the end of January, said Assistant City Manager Adrian Miller.

(The Charlotte Observer, 9/29/2014)

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CORAPEAKE – Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

When John and Susan Shultis arrived in Gates County from New Jersey in 2008, they were greeted by a once stately plantation home that had fell victim not only to a long period of sitting vacant, but the wrath of a hurricane as well.

Now, nearly seven years later, the pride has returned to the Savage Plantation, located at 660 Union Branch Road.

On Sunday, Nov. 9, a dedication ceremony was held to introduce the partners in this labor of love. The ceremony included the unveiling of a roadside marker that tells the history of this pre-Civil War residence.

The plantation house was built by Caleb Carlton Savage around 1854. It is a vernacular house built in the Greek Revival style. It retains all of its original architectural features and many of its original finishes, including six fireplaces. The front porch was restored to its original configuration based on an 1894 photograph.

The property retains several original outbuildings, including a two-sided slave house, a smoke house and a log paddock. On the property are pin oaks, willow oaks, pecan trees, old pines and a Scuppernong grape arbor.

“From the beginning we have lovingly restored the house after the damaging effects from Hurricane Isabel and were able to maintain the integrity of this Gates County gem,” said John Shultis.” We restored all the porches, the fireplaces and added new mechanicals. We were challenged by adding bathrooms to a house that was never designed to having bathrooms.

“After living in and working on the house for six and a half years we have a respect for the craftsmanship and design of this old house. We hope that others who see our house will be inspired to have the courage to tackle a restoration project of their own,” Shultis added.

John and his wife, both retirees, had previously restored three homes, all different styles and all in New Jersey.

(Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, 11/24/2014)

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CLAYTON — A building that once hummed with the whir of more than 100 people operating 10,000 spindles now lies dormant, a relic of a time when cotton was king and trains were the lifeblood of Southern commerce.

More than a century old, the 55,000-square-foot Clayton Spinning Mill closed in 1976. Its faded brick facade shows its age, but its owners believe it has some life in it yet.

They hope to turn the building and the surrounding land into a sports and retail complex with the help of the state mill rehabilitation tax credit they were awarded earlier this year, which will offset the cost of renovating the historic structure.

“You can’t do a project like this without the tax credits unless you’re walking around with $10 million in your pocket,” said Michael Hubbard, who owns the mill with fellow Clayton resident Steve Yauch.

The mill credit will expire at the end of the year for properties that haven’t been approved to receive it. With a month and a half left to apply for eligibility, dozens of developers are scrambling to get approval for rehabilitation projects like the Clayton mill, massive undertakings that often can’t be completed without the state incentive.

Tim Simmons, federal rehabilitation tax credit coordinator and senior preservation architect at the State Historic Preservation Office, said the number of applications submitted this year began to rise during the summer.

“I know that this year, mill projects are up,” he said.

The mill credit is one of three historic preservation tax credits that the state legislature chose not to renew this year. The 20 to 30 percent credits for residential and commercial properties will expire Jan. 1, while the 30 to 40 percent credit for mills will expire only for projects that haven’t received state approval before the year’s end.

Enacted in 2006, the mill credit can be used in addition to the 20 percent federal historic preservation tax credit for the rehabilitation of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. To date, the incentive has aided in the completion of 28 mill projects — more than half of them in Durham and Winston-Salem — and 43 more have been proposed in counties across the state.

But not all potential projects will be deemed eligible before the deadline. Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, said any mills not yet listed on the National Register may not receive the credit because the listing process usually takes about a year to complete.

“These projects are going to be really hard to do without any tax credits, and there is a good chance we’re going to see mills like that being deconstructed for materials,” he said. “That’s taking an economic development opportunity and taking it apart and throwing it away.”

On Friday, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources announced that 17 properties in the state had been added to the National Register, including the Merrimon-Wynne House in Raleigh.

The decision not to renew the historic preservation program aligns with the goals of the 2013 Republican overhaul of the state tax code, which reduced income tax rates for individuals and businesses and eliminated other tax credits. Between 2006 and 2012, mill rehabilitation projects qualified for about $128 million in credits, according to State Historic Preservation Office data. The tax credits for commercial and residential properties, available since 1998, have cost the state more than $230 million since their inception.

Economic benefits

In his 2015 budget proposal, Gov. Pat McCrory included a less expensive version of the historic preservation program that reduced tax credit percentages and capped eligible rehabilitation expenditures at $20 million. The modified program would reduce its cost to the state by $10 million to $15 million annually, according to State Historic Preservation Office data.

The House supported the less expensive program, but the Senate did not. Sen. Bob Rucho, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, did not respond to several requests for comment.

“Tax credits are not an acceptable part of tax reform, so it hit a wall in the Senate,” Howard said.

He said he expects the legislature will consider implementing a version of the tax credit or an alternative incentive next year.

Proponents of the preservation program argue the economic benefit of rehabilitating historic mill structures far exceeds the initial cost to the state. The 28 mills rehabilitated with the help of the tax credit cost a total of $563 million to complete, and each supplies more jobs and tax revenue than it did before its renovation.

The American Tobacco Campus in Durham, a $167 million investment, stands as the largest project completed with the use of the mill credit. Capitol Broadcasting, which owns the campus, hired Durham-based Belk Architecture to transform the million-square-foot former cigarette production complex into mixed-use space home to shops, restaurants and office space.

The mill credit also allowed Belk Architecture to repurpose Durham’s Golden Belt complex, a seven-acre campus with an $8,000 tax value before its renovation. After it opened as a commercial and residential space in 2011, its tax value rose to $16 million.

The Chesterfield Building in Durham was also approved to receive the mill credit. The $100 million project, which will turn the former Liggett & Myers Co. cigarette production facility into commercial and office space, began earlier this year.

Retaining history

Eddie Belk, owner of Belk Architecture, said most mill rehabilitations aren’t possible without the help of the credit because the cost of preserving and repurposing a heritage building generally exceeds the amount of revenue the structure will generate while new tenants take root and build a customer base.

“The only way you can make a profit on these very large structures on many occasions is to invent a new enterprise and give it a new start,” he said. “The credits develop equity up front to help get the project done, and then it becomes a viable asset to the community.”

Though less extensive than many projects completed with the use of the tax credit, rehabilitation of the Clayton mill will cost $3 million to $5 million. The building’s 150 arched windows are bricked over, and restoring their original design could cost as much as $7,500 per window, Hubbard said.

Hubbard is looking to use both a 30 percent state mill credit and a 20 percent federal credit. If the project ends up costing $3 million, Hubbard estimates it could qualify for about $1 million in tax credits. While North Carolina buildings that are later added to the National Register will be able to apply for federal credits in the future, those often aren’t enough to make a project economically viable.

Renovating the Clayton mill without retaining as much of the original architecture would cost less and might not require the mill credit to complete. But Hubbard said he and and his team opted to preserve the integrity of a small-town fixture, a goal that resonates with some Clayton residents.

“When you find a new purpose for older buildings, you’re saving the history,” said Pam Baumgartner, historian at the Clayton Library and longtime resident. “Cotton was one of the first big industries here, and (the mill) really did have a big impact.”

Construction is expected to begin next year. Hubbard said he hopes the development will fill a need in Clayton, a town of nearly 18,000 whose population has increased by a third during the last decade.

“Clayton has boomed in its own right, and for the most part it’s starting to burst at the seams,” he said. “That’s why we’re looking at this project. It can be a destination for the town.”

(Raleigh News & Observer, 11/22/2014)

HAMLET — The Tornado Building Antique Vehicle Museum and the restoration of the historic 1892 replica of the Tornado steam locomotive have received a 2014 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit, the city of Hamlet and N.C. Department of Transportation announced.

The award was given by Preservation North Carolina in recognition of the Tornado Building’s historic preservation accomplishment. The Carraway award was presented Oct. 10 during Preservation North Carolina’s annual conference held at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh.

The Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit are named in honor of the late Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist.

(Richmond County Daily Journal, 10/29/2014)

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A nearly century-old structure important to New Bern’s past faces demolition next spring unless steps are taken to keep it from disappearing from the local landscape.

The Mamie Sadler Store is on North Craven Street in Riverside, an older neighborhood north of downtown.

Established as a business in 1917 by Sadler as a general store, it now appears as merely a physical eyesore in an otherwise well-kept neighborhood.

(New Bern Sun Journal, 10/31/2014)
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One of Charlotte’s most notoriously troubled neighborhoods will unveil plans Tuesday to restore and put back into use an 87-year-old schoolhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The largely forgotten Billingsville Rosenwald School, 3 miles southeast of uptown, is to be reborn in coming months as a community center for Grier Heights, a low-income neighborhood bound by Randolph, Wendover and Monroe roads that is itself going through a revival.

Built in 1927, the deteriorated building is one of 4,977 schools established at the turn of the 20th century to advance black education in 15 Southern states. American clothier, Sears executive and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald provided most of the money, and experts say North Carolina got the lion’s share: 813 schools.

(The Charlotte Observer, 10/26/2014)

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Knowing that North Carolina tax credits for historic preservation expire at the end of this year, property owners have been contacting Historic Wilmington Foundation recently with a lot of questions about them, the organization’s director said this week.

While the loss of the credits isn’t expected to devastate Wilmington’s historic properties, said George Edwards, HWF executive director, their unavailability will have an impact.

“It will slow things down,” Edwards said.

And some property owners with historic projects under way in downtown Wilmington have been working quickly to make sure they meet the requirements, he said, including at least two residential projects and renovations for 21 S. Front St., a commercial building that will house the headquarters of Wilmington-based startup Next Glass.

(Wilmington Biz, 10/24/2014)

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SPENCER — One man is trying to bring history to the forefront along the Yadkin River.

Gary Hauze, a retired pastor, is working to have a museum built near the grounds of the demolished Color-Tex plant. The museum, he said, will tell the long story of the area along the river.

There is a lot of history, according to Hauze, who calls himself an amateur historian. He spoke of the Saponi and Catawba groups, Native Americans who lived along the river. He mentioned the Spanish explorations in the Carolinas in the 1500s. There are Revolutionary War and Civil War sites nearby too, he said. And, of course, the history of the textile industry is in the area.

“I honestly know of no other place that has that much history, not just right here but going up and down the river,” Hauze said.

Hauze didn’t want to reveal a lot about his plans when he spoke to the Post Wednesday, but, he said, “Things are falling into place.”

Hauze said he has been reaching out to prominent individuals around Rowan County, asking several of them to be part of a board that will guide the development of the museum. He has also been working to raise money for the project and is searching for people who have artifacts that could go in the museum.

(The Salisbury Post, 10/3/2014)

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“After years of steady growth, Raleigh is receiving significant national attention as evident in the regular accolades bestowed on the city,” says Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics, a Washington, DC based real estate and economic development consulting firm. Mr. Rypkema presented at the ULI roundtable on September 9, 2014 to highlight the economic, social, and quality of life attributes of historic preservation. The forum sought to flesh out what exactly is the role of historic preservation in the ongoing revitalization of the Triangle’s downtowns and how developers can leverage the investments made in historic properties to realize an impact of new jobs, new business, and increased property values. Mr. Rypkema was joined by panelists Greg Hatem, President, Empire Properties and Gary Kueber, CEO, Scientific Properties. The session was moderated by David Diaz, Executive Director, Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

(Urban Land Institute Triangle News, 9/23/2014)

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Raleigh, N.C. — It was the pink elephant in the room that brought over 100 people to a meeting at the Raleigh Convention Center Monday night to discuss the city’s historic preservation guidelines.

But they were asked not to talk about it.

You know, the home that divided a historic downtown Raleigh neighborhood.

“There is a conversation going on in our community right now about do the guidelines do what they are intended to do in terms of preserving historic districts, but also allowing there to be diversity and flexibility,” said Mary Dillon, who lives in the Historic Oakwood neighborhood.

The legal battle over the home spurred a number of questions that were asked at Monday’s meeting, including what community values should be represented in historic preservation guidelines, do the current guidelines reflect those values and what would historic neighborhoods look like if drastic changes are made.

(WRAL, 9/22/14)

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RALEIGH — Anticipating a Monday forum, opponents of Oakwood’s modernist house are lobbying neighbors about what kinds of architecture should be allowed in Raleigh’s historic districts.

The Oak City Preservation Alliance is distributing a pamphlet with photos of newer Oakwood homes it deems appropriate, as well as altered images of modernist houses placed next to historic ones. The lobbying effort comes within days of a Wake Court Superior Court judge’s ruling in favor of the modernist home, which was signed Monday.

The two-page brochure explains that the group doesn’t think new construction should pretend to be historic. Alliance member Don Becom said that until the modernist home on Euclid Street, all new homes have blended well with the old.

“We feel we have a middle-of-the-road position,” Becom said. “We don’t want to replicate the buildings from our period of significance. We want to maintain the character of our neighborhood.”

But not all preservationists share the group’s viewpoint. Preservation North Carolina has spoken out in favor of the modernist house, and president Myrick Howard says the historic district guidelines don’t dictate style. The rules are more about tangible elements like size, colors and materials, he added.

Howard said those rules would prevent the jarring contrasts presented as worst-case scenarios in the Preservation Alliance’s altered images.

“Those structures would not remotely be approved under the guidelines,” he said. “It’s disingenuous to say that the commission would approve those.”

Both sides will make their case Monday night at a forum organized by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, the city council-appointed board that issued the initial approval for the Oakwood modernist house.

The commission wants to know if its guidelines and procedures for new construction adequately reflect the community’s standards for historic neighborhoods. The city council called for the review in January – just as the modernist house furor was beginning – after hearing concerns from Euclid Street resident Gail Wiesner, who’s since been fighting her across-the-street neighbors in court.

Howard said the process is working well, but added: “It’s always useful to have a review periodically.”

The Oak City Preservation Alliance is pushing for some wording changes, including the addition of architectural style to the criteria. Alliance president Mary Iverson said the focus on “compatibility” is vague.

“It can be interpreted in numerous ways,” she said.

Iverson’s group takes issue with the historic commission’s facilitator for Monday’s forum: Pratt Cassity, who heads the Center for Community Design and Preservation at the University of Georgia.

Iverson is concerned that Cassity favors placing modernist buildings next to historic ones, pointing to photos posted on Cassity’s Pinterest page.

“I’m looking at what he has shown as his preference on his Pinterest site, and I believe he is walking in there with a bias,” Iverson said.

Howard said he knows Cassity personally and thinks he’ll be an effective moderator.

“You couldn’t get a more recognized and appropriate expert for this forum,” Howard said. “He does not promote starkly modern structures.”

Regardless of the moderator, Iverson says she hopes revised historic district guidelines will make the process more predictable and less likely to result in a lengthy legal battle.

“I personally believe that would help prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate disagreement that’s gone through the neighborhood,” she said.

By Colin Campbell for the Raleigh News & Observer, 9/19/2014

For most people, moving day means oceans of bubble wrap, mounds of boxes and a load of stress. Now imagine packing up the entire house and taking it with you, as in, the kitchen sink, the kitchen — everything.

Many historic homes across the United States have been spared the wrecking ball by being relocated. There are several homes out there right now with token price tags of $1 or less for anyone brave and patient enough to take on the task.

Before you go looking for the down payment in your sofa cushions, take this wise advice from us and from Christopher Jones, a historic preservationist and two-time house move survivor.

(HGTV’s Front Door, 9/12/14)

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Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan announced yesterday that she will rule in favor of a contemporary home in the Historic Oakwood district—a controversial topic between historical preservationists and modernists in the area for nearly a year now. This could mean that construction of the home will be completed, which has been halted since last November, and allow for local architect Louis Cherry, FAIA, and his wife Marsha Gordon to move in.

Last September, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC) granted Cherry the necessary certification to build the house on Euclid Street. The neighborhood, Raleigh’s oldest and largest historical district, attracted the couple with its sense of community. Construction began a month later, but was halted due to an appeal filed by the couple’s neighbor across the street, Gail Wiesner, who objected to their home’s modern aesthetic. The house stood incomplete and faced possible alterations and demolition.

(Architect, 9/12/14)

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RALEIGH — Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan announced this week that she’ll rule in favor of a controversial modernist house in the historic Oakwood neighborhood – a move that could allow the owners to finish construction and move in.

Late Wednesday afternoon, city attorney Dorothy Leapley sent notice of the ruling to the Raleigh City Council, which had joined with homeowners Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon on the appeal.

“We received notice from Judge Bushfan’s clerk that the judge has ruled in favor of Mr. Cherry, Ms. Gordon and the City of Raleigh on their appeal,” Leapley wrote. “The judge has overturned the decision of the (city Board of Adjustment).”

The Euclid Street home was first approved by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission nearly a year ago. But across-the-street neighbor Gail Wiesner appealed the decision, calling the home’s design “garishly inappropriate” for a historic neighborhood.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 9/11/14)

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RALEIGH — Last year, after generations of family ownership, the deed for the Rev. Plummer T. Hall House ended up with the city as part of a bid to save the historic landmark and its place in local African-American history.

The unusual transfer brought together the homeowners, preservationists and city officials, who say the Oberlin Road house now is ready to make its debut on the real-estate market.

“We just really want to see it back with someone living in it,” said Martha Lauer, executive director of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

Preservation North Carolina is handing the sale and has listed the one-story Queen Anne-style house at $226,000. The group expects to begin accepting offers soon on the house, which is located between Hillsborough Street and Wade Avenue.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 8/28/2014)

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North Carolina’s historic preservation tax credit has been a valuable asset to the state, enticing developers and residents to restore historic old buildings and homes to the tune of $1.5 billion in investment since 1998. It’s estimated to have contributed more than $124 million annually to the state’s gross domestic product. Some 2,200 jobs a year are created thanks to the incentive as well.

These properties – such as the American Tobacco Campus in Durham – can be prohibitively expensive to restore and might otherwise simply fall down.

Republicans in the state Senate, focused on tax reform that helps only the wealthy and business, just don’t like the idea of giving tax breaks to certain other groups. So with their blinders on, they’re doing away with the tax credit for historic preservation.

It is utter foolishness that will result in lots of historic properties disappearing forever.

(The Raleigh News & Observer, 9/1/2014)

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State lawmakers did not renew a tax credit program that’s helping transform the shuttered Loray Mill into a residential and commercial development, but that may not mean the benefit is gone forever.

While the tax credit program that helps finance historic properties ends Jan. 1, most lawmakers expect the issue to return for debate when the long session begins later that month.

“I’m sure it’ll come back up,” said N.C. Rep. Dana Bumgardner, R-Gaston. “That will probably be one of the first things to come up.”

House members supported a pared-down version of the program, which the state Department of Cultural Resources says has contributed to more than $36 million in private investment to rehabilitate historic properties in Gaston County since 2001.

But the Senate, particularly Republicans, declined to keep the program going before adjourning in August. Some senators say the program does not fit with their efforts to shift tax policy away from benefiting certain groups, according to The Associated Press.

Sen. Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston, among the Senate’s chief budget writers, declined to endorse the tax credit program.

“Whether this issue will be addressed in the 2015 long session has yet to be decided — but it is something I will continue to discuss with constituents and my colleagues in the legislature,” Harrington said via email.

The program benefits people restoring historic properties in two ways. Qualifying structures that don’t produce income, such as homes, are eligible for a 30 percent state tax credit. Income-producing historic properties — such as the Loray Mill — qualify for a 20 percent federal investment tax credit and are eligible for a 20 percent state tax credit, under the program about to end.

“This wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for those tax credits,” said Gastonia City Manager Ed Munn during a tour of the Loray Mill in August arranged by the Department of Cultural Resources. It was an effort to gain support for the continuation of the tax credits.

(The Gaston Gazette, 9/1/2014)

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North Carolina lawmakers are pressuring Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to call a special session of the state legislature to pass a package of economic development bills, including one extending tax incentives for film and television production, that wasn’t passed before the General Assembly adjourned last week.

“He’s getting pressure from lots of different places,” Rep. Susi Hamilton (D) told The Post. “It’s coming from his own cabinet.”

Attempts during the session to pass an economic development bill were unsuccessful, in part, because it lacked subsidies for film, solar energy and historic preservation, items unpopular with lawmakers who identify with the tea party but a dealbreaker without them for others.

“There’s basically three parties in the General Assembly right now: tea party, Republicans and Democrats,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton and Rep. Ted Davis (R), sent a request to the governor’s office Thursday, calling for a special session to pass a new package of bills aimed at economic development and arguing without them, “our state is not competitive globally or in the Southeast United States.”

(The Washington Post, 8/29/2014)

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Yesterday, closing arguments wrapped up in a case that will decide the fate of a home in Raleigh, North Carolina’s Oakwood Historic District, whose across-the-street neighbor has deemed it too modern to exist. Raleigh architect Louis Cherry was given the go-ahead to start building the cypress-clad two-story house last September, by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, which approves designs for neighborhoods like Oakwood—where the mix of homes, some dating back to the nineteenth century and some built as recently 2008, sport a vaguely Victorian aesthetic—based on a loose set of design guidelines.

But the home’s relatively modest look—referred to in a lot of local coverage as “modernist”—was too much for real estate agent Gail Wiesner, who appealed to the city’s Board of Adjustment, which voted three to two that there had been “no rational basis” for approving the home, halting a construction process that was well underway. As architecture critic Paul Goldberger put it, the decision essentially said that the dwelling “destroys the illusion that the neighborhood is a place in which time has stopped.” With its fate now in the hands of superior court judge Elaine Bushfan, the little contemporary that could is carrying on with a hobby that’s pretty popular among those caught up in farcical court battles: tweeting about it.

(Via Yahoo Homes, 8/27/14)

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — The tax credit that helped people rescue historic businesses and homes in 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, including plantations, neighborhoods and cotton mills, faces likely extinction as legislators have refused to renew the benefit.

The credits likely will end Jan. 1 despite the support of Gov. Pat McCrory, as legislators haven’t renewed them, and they’re not on a to-do list for lawmakers to complete before they adjourn. While House members supported a pared-down version of the program, senators refused to keep it going. Senate Republicans are generally more opposed to similar targeted credits.

“I think they have made a tremendous difference in who we are as a state,” said Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “We’ll be the only state in the southeast except for Tennessee without a tax credit for historic buildings, and Tennessee is working on it. And we’ve been a leader in the nation.”

(The Associated Press, 8/16/14)

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The Colonial Inn has dodged another bullet, and that is cause for some relief.

But the landmark building that has been a fixture in downtown Hillsborough for more than 150 years, is far from saved from demolition. Indeed, in many ways it is just as close to the edge of the precipice as it has been for a decade or more.

For devoted Hillsborughites and preservationists everywhere, the inexorable deterioration of the building is nothing short heartbreaking. As happens painfully often to buildings with the character but also the challenges of the Colonial Inn, its owner appears not to have the wallet and even more so the will to keep the building from falling down, much less to restore it with historic appropriateness to an adoptive reuse.

Owner Francis Henry would dispute it but others with an interest in the building’s preservation would say there have been reasonable offers to purchase it and pursue rehabilitations. The town’s attachment to the iconic building was clear last week when people packed the Town Barn to argue against Henry’s request to be allowed to demolish the structure.

The Hillsborough Historic District Commission turned down that request, unanimously. But that merely leaves the building in limbo and the town and preservationists puzzling over what appear to be starkly limited — perhaps nonexistent — options to save it as long as it remains in the same hands.

As town planner Stephanie Trueblood put it before Wednesday’s hearing, “the job isn’t to consider all the outcomes for the building.” It simply was to weigh Henry’s one-page request to tear it down.
Lingering animosities, egos, a fierce belief in private-property rights and the daunting task of renovating a building – a tasks that grows more difficult with each passing year of neglect — all envelope the ongoing struggle over the historic inn.

(The Herald-Sun, 8/11/14)

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After being cut from a state budget proposal signed off on by the legislature, the extension of North Carolina’s historic preservation tax credit program could be taken up later this month.

But extending a program that would include more stringent oversight and a smaller scope is still a long shot when lawmakers return to Raleigh in mid-August to close out this year’s legislative session.

The proposed extension is part of Senate Bill 763, which has been passed by the House and relayed to the Senate for its consideration.

(Triad Business Journal, 8/5/14)

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State support for historic preservation tax credits appear destined to expire at the end of the year.

But the program may not go directly into the dust bin because of the last-minute insertion of a provision into a bill focused on Revenue Law technical changes.
click here!

The latest edition of House Bill 1224 includes a section that directs the legislature’s Revenue Laws study committee to “conduct an economic analysis of rehabilitating both income-producing and non-income-producing historic structures, including historic mill property.”

On Tuesday, legislative leaders did not include an extension of the tax credit in the final version of the 2014-15 state budget.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said the Republican-controlled legislature is more focused on preserving its “principles of tax reform” that have at their core the premise that lowering the overall tax rate is more beneficial to businesses and the economy than tax credits. Tillis said the legislature may consider establishing a grant program in the 2015 session.

(The Winston-Salem Journal, 8/1/14)

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DURHAM — Advocates conceded Friday that the N.C. Senate has blocked an extension past the end of the year of a state tax credit that’s subsidized the rehabilitation of historic properties like Durham’s American Tobacco complex.

The credits were “jettisoned” in late-hour budget maneuvering Thursday night, Preservation North Carolina Executive Director Myrick Howard told the group’s supporters via email.

N.C. House members gave preliminary approval Friday afternoon to a fiscal 2014-15 state budget that omits the necessary extension. The Senate, meanwhile, blocked a separate attempt by the House to retain them, by signaling its intent to adjourn.

The impasse was a political defeat not just for groups like Howard’s, but for Gov. Pat McCrory, who this spring proposed the extension framework the House eventually embraced.

The governor and other supporters of the program took some solace from a separate move by the Senate to request a legislative study of the issue over the winter. That could lead to the re-introduction of the program in next year’s General Assembly session.

“We’re very disappointed that the historical tax credits were not passed, but we will fight for them, and we will work with another study which I guarantee will show you [that] you get your money back in return for those investments,” McCrory said during a Friday news conference.

(The Herald-Sun, 8/1/14)

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Keith Urban has written an editorial advocating the historic preservation of country music landmarks.

With the headline “Keep Music Row’s Past for the Future,” his 368-word plea appeared Friday (Aug. 1) in the opinion section of The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper.

It sounds like Urban is who he is because of the Nashville neighborhood that houses so many of the record labels, recording studios and publishing houses.

“I made my first trip to Nashville from Australia in the summer of 1989,” Urban wrote. “I checked into the Shoney’s Inn on Demonbreun, then headed straight into the legendary Music Row.

(CMT News, 4/1/14)

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Raleigh, N.C. — The state would continue offering tax credits to owners who rehabilitate historic industrial structures if a provision the House Finance Committee added to a last-minute “Revenue Laws Technical Corrections” bill remains part of the legislation.

Senate Bill 763 contains a grab-bag of tweaks to state tax laws, many that clarify existing language in the tax code.

The historic tax credit program was part of Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget and was included in the budget put forward by state House lawmakers. However, it was left out of the compromise budget plan that is due to be officially filed late Wednesday.

“Every county and every town in the state benefits from this,” Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said Wednesday.

To qualify for the credit, the structure in question must have been used for manufacturing, a warehouse for agricultural products or as a utility. Many such structures are in the middle of downtown areas and can be reused, but their owners need help jump-starting expensive renovation work.

(WRAL, 7/30/14)

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EDENTON, N.C. — Even in a town’s earliest days, there is a need for rules and justice. An archaeological investigation at the 1767 Chowan Courthouse Green July 28 to 31 will search for the town’s first courthouse, built in 1718.

“We know there was a courthouse,” says Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz. “We will try to determine the exact location.”

Mintz will work with Shawn Patch from New South and Associates, to investigate the site. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) will be used to determine the best place to undertake the archaeological excavation and how deep to explore. The GPR readings will determine where the work is done. After completing the excavation the Courthouse Green will be carefully restored to its original beauty. A generous donation from Piedmont Natural Gas to Chowan County makes this investigation possible.

“Documents tell us that the 1718 courthouse was a wooden frame building, roofed with shingles and plastered inside, built at a cost of £287,” Site Manager Karen Ipock explains. She says there is a description of the building from visiting Virginia aristocrat William Byrd. “After a visit to Edenton in 1728, Byrd observed, ‘Justice herself is but indifferently Lodged, the courthouse having much the air of a Common Tobacco-House.'”

Work was done on the original courthouse into the 1750s, so it probably stood until the new courthouse was constructed and opened in 1767. Additional information will benefit the site, the Town of Edenton and Chowan County.

“It would be nice to know more about how the original building functioned, the exact site and size, and about the foundation,” Ipock continues. “We know the Courthouse Green has always been a center of activity where the militia drilled, markets were set up on court days, and town gatherings were held, so we hope for evidence of these activities as well.”

For more information, please contact Site Manager Karen Ipock at (252) 482-2637. Historic Edenton is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for people who are blind and have physical disabilities.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit


From the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
109 E. Jones Street | Raleigh, N.C. | 27601 |

HILLSBOROUGH — Bear, the black cat that neighbors call the Queen of West King Street, might be the Colonial Inn’s last occupant if the owner gets permission to tear it down.

The town’s Historic District Commission will weigh Wilmington businessman Francis Henry’s petition Aug. 6 to demolish the 175-year-old inn at 153 W. King St.

Henry bought the inn for $410,000 in a 2001 with plans to restore it. He now wants to let crews remove materials from the building before tearing down the rest, leaving behind a grassy lot. The work could take at least six months, he said.

The hearing will be “quasi-judicial,” meaning the commission can only consider expert evidence and testimony offered at the meeting.

Beginning in 1838, the inn mostly served travelers conducting business in the county seat. Later years brought a restaurant that locals remember fondly for its Southern cooking and family-style Sunday dinners. Resident Nicki Florence said the inn showing its age when she last ate there in the 1990s.

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(Raleigh News & Observer, 7/26/14)

Supporters of the state’s historic preservation tax credits continue to lobby leading House and Senate lawmakers charged with crafting a state budget even as one top lawmaker says their time has come to pass.

“The preservation tax credits work for North Carolina and they make great sense/cents,” said George Edwards, executive director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, in an email.

The tax credits were included in the House’s budget but not the Senate’s version. The two chambers are currently in the process of trying to reconcile their differences.

Meanwhile, The Insider reports that Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, does not support extension of the historic preservation tax credits and believes they will be left to expire at year’s end.

(Wilmington Star News, 7/12/14)

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FUQUAY-VARINA — Starr McDowell sat on a bench and waited for her son to come out of Service Barber Shop.

It was hot, but McDowell didn’t mind. She drove from her home in Holly Springs, and she said downtown Fuquay-Varina is an interesting place to people-watch.

“You always see people walking around downtown now,” McDowell said. “I’ve enjoyed how they’ve built up new stores, but they’ve also done a really good job of maintaining the small downtown charm.”

The Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association was recently re-accredited as a National Main Street Program by the National Main Street Center. This is the fourth year the group has received the accreditation for its efforts to bring more people downtown.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 7/7/14)

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The New Bern Housing Authority is moving forward with a $27.3 million project to redevelop Craven Terrace that includes demolition of seven apartment complexes located in a flood plain and renovation of the remaining 319 units at an estimated cost of $85,000 per unit.

The decision has its critics, including former New Bern mayor Lee Bettis, who said the redevelopment plan would only benefit developers while maintaining a “dangerous ghetto” for decades to come.

(The Sun Journal, 7/8/14)

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Winston-Salem – The North Carolina General Assembly needs to engage in a little historic preservation, namely of a credit that gives those who restore historic homes and buildings a break on their taxes.
Click here!

It’s simple, and it’s effective. It also makes good economic sense for the state. The state Department of Commerce estimates that the tax credits cost the state about $14 million a year but bring in $124 million in investments. In what world is that not a good deal for the state?

(The Winston-Salem Journal, 6/22/14)

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It was May 2013 when O. Max Gardner III announced he would be selling his historic Webbley home, a Cleveland County landmark that has provided a temporary home to U.S. presidents, governors and movie stars.

By March, the home was in negotiations to be sold to a high-end real estate company. Those negotiations are on hold, Gardner told The Star in an email last week.

“Currently, our negotiations are on hold due to the uncertainty of the future of the ability of home owners and investors to receive a tax credit for the rehabilitating of historic properties like the Webbley,” said Gardner. “The House and Senate are currently debating whether or not to continue the Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program.”

That program—which includes tax credits from both the federal and state governments—is set to expire at the end of 2014, unless the program is continued. So far, more than 2,000 historic properties in the state have been rehabilitated with the help of the tax credits, to the tune of more than $1 billion of investment. But the program doesn’t just have a monetary impact, Gardner said.

(The Shelby Star, 6/23/14)

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You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You can often see the evidence for that statement at antique shops and yard sales.

Here’s one saying you might not be familiar with: “My tax credits are good, while everyone else’s tax credits are a waste of taxpayer money.”

OK, it’s probably not a saying at all, but we certainly know many people believe this.

The two statements are now linked because of a debate going on in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Since gaining control of the legislature, Republicans have made tax reform a priority. They have been aggressively chopping rates and going after loopholes and tax credits. They have expanded categories covered by sales taxes while trimming income tax rates.

(Rockingham Daily Journal, 6/18/14)

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BEAUFORT — The state’s historic preservation tax credit will be revamped in an effort to appeal to lawmakers to include it in the contested state budget this month, but the new provisions could disqualify properties along the Crystal Coast in the process.

The credit, active in the state budget for the past 38 years, provides an income tax credit for approved, renovated historic commercial and residential structures.

Surviving the $21 billion House budget, which passed June 13, proponents of the credit must now sell it once more to the Senate.

“I can’t emphasize how important it is that this be passed by the N.C. Legislature,” said Dr. Kevin Cherry, deputy secretary of the Office of Archives and History with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. “This is used all over the state, in every size community.”

Currently, the program provides a 20 percent state tax credit to rehabilitated historical commercial structures, 30 percent for residential, that can then be combined with the 20 percent federal offering.

(The Carteret County News-Times, 6/21/14)

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The possible elimination of the state’s historic preservation tax credit program would mean the proverbial wrecking ball to any future development for the numerous shuttered furniture factories in Davidson County, said Paul Kron, regional planning director of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council.

“These tax credits are very important economic development incentives,” Kron said. “It generates millions of dollars just in construction.”

The credits are set to expire at year’s end. The state’s House of Representatives and Gov. Pat McCrory back the program but have retooled how the credits will be used. The state Senate, meanwhile, believes ending the program will decrease income taxes.

After being initially omitted, the tax credit program was inserted back into the House budget last week. House lawmakers are now considering amendments and will meet with the Senate to hammer out a budget. Once the budget is completed, both the House and Senate will vote on it and send it to McCrory for approval.

(The Dispatch, 6/20/14)

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North Carolina’s historic preservation tax credits will sunset at the end of this year if the legislature does not include a new preservation investment program in its final budget, as recommended by Gov. Pat McCrory. The House has included the program in its budget, but the Senate did not.

North Carolina has benefited from the state’s Historic Commercial and Residential Preservation Tax Credits since 1998. Studies show the program consistently has brought revenue and jobs – and it has added immeasurably to the quality of life in many communities. The tax credits also boost out-of-state investment, heritage tourism and local property tax collections.

As the president of Historic Charlotte and an architect, I believe it’s important for the legislature to support Gov. McCrory’s new Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program and include it in the final budget. The governor’s new program is a more fiscally conservative approach to the state’s current tax credits – but it would be a vital continuation of the essence of the program.

(The Charlotte Observer, 6/16/14)

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The North Carolina General Assembly needs to engage in a little historic preservation, namely of a credit that gives those who restore historic homes and buildings a break on their taxes.

It’s simple, and it’s effective. It also makes good economic sense for the state. The state Department of Commerce estimates that the tax credits cost the state about $14 million a year but bring in $124 million in investments. In what world is that not a good deal for the state?

The state House backs extending but refining the credits, which are due to expire at year’s end. So does Gov. Pat McCrory. But some senators, following a rather odd logic about how ending incentives will lower income taxes for everybody, are opposed to the program. That’s economic nonsense.

The credit has transformed parts of Raleigh, from historic homes in the Oakwood neighborhood to downtown Raleigh buildings that have been transformed into restaurants. Greg Hatem, a Raleigh entrepreneur, owns a number of properties downtown and notes that the credit doesn’t help only individuals.

“It starts when you renovate a historic building,” he said. “What follows is you have office spaces and restaurants, and this creates active uses that bring a downtown back to life.” Raleigh is proof positive. That pattern has been followed successfully all over town.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 6/17/14)

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The future of a popular state tax that has helped communities across the state save historic homes and revitalize downtowns could be decided this week.

As House and Senate lawmakers negotiate their differing state budgets one of the line items they’ll be looking at is the Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program, which provides a 20 percent to 30 percent tax credit to those who restore historic homes and buildings. The credit is set to expire at the end of this year. House lawmakers want to extend the credit, but their counterparts in the Senate do not.

Greg Hatem, whose Empire Properties has used the credit to restore several properties in downtown Raleigh, said it was the catalyst for much of the other development downtown.

(Raleigh News & Observer, 6/16/14)

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Barring a change of heart, the state’s historic preservation tax credit program will survive for at least another year.

The program was inserted back into the N.C. House budget last week after it was initially omitted, which would have ended a 38-year run.

The House is now debating other amendments and will come together with the N.C. Senate after the representatives agree on a bill. Then, both chambers will vote on the budget and send it to Gov. Pat McCrory for approval.

State Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne, said he is optimistic about the bill having staying power.

“The tax credit passed overwhelmingly in Appropriations, so I don’t see anyone trying to pull it out,” he said.

(Star News Online, 6/15/14)

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It pays to save history, or at least that is what state lawmakers in the N.C. House decided on telling constituents this week in the budget.

Lawmakers in Raleigh decided to extend the historic renovation tax credits, and that’s good for Salisbury as well as outlying municipalities across the county.

For more than 12 years, the state has offered historic renovation credits to entice developers to redevelop historic properties.

The program was slated to sunset this year.

While Gov. Pat McCrory wanted to tweak the program, Senate lawmakers cut it out of their budget.

(Salisbury Post, 6/13/14)

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An imperiled program that gives tax breaks for historic rehabilitation projects in North Carolina found a lifeline Wednesday.

The House Appropriations Committee, during daylong debates, voted to include it in the chamber’s proposed version of the state budget, which still faces full floor votes.

It means the preservation program could be on track for renewal, rather than expire as scheduled at the end of this year.

The state has since 1998 offered income tax credits for investing in the redevelopment or improvement of old sites. The City of Wilmington, whose legislative agenda eyed this item, cites them for keeping the city’s tourism-drawing historic charm alive.

(Port City Daily, 6/11/14)

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What if North Carolina had an effective, proven way to preserve historic properties, create thousands of jobs and attract millions of dollars from private investors?

In fact, we do. North Carolina’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit, an economic incentive for the otherwise prohibitively expensive rehabilitation of historic buildings, is a resounding economic success. Yet the program is at risk. Eliminating this incentive – which pays for itself many times over – would cost North Carolina jobs and discourage private investment at a time when our economy seems to be getting back on track.

Since 2001, the historic preservation program has attracted $1.4 billion of private investment and created an estimated 23,000 jobs. Projects in 90 of our 100 counties have leveraged these incentives by attracting private investment to preserve and improve historic properties. Qualifying projects receive a federal incentive that, combined with North Carolina’s, makes otherwise financial unfeasible rehabilitation projects work.

Improving these properties also improves quality of life and bolsters local economies all over North Carolina. Completed projects include Gaston Memorial Hospital, redevelopment of downtown Mount Airy, the Elizabeth City Opera House, the Proctor Hotel in Greenville, the Reuben Wallace cabin in Rockingham County, the Great Aunt Stella Center in Charlotte and Maureen Joy Charter School in Durham. We all probably know a historic rehabilitation project, even if we don’t know that’s what it is.

As someone who oversees these kinds of projects for Self-Help, a community development lender and credit union based in Durham, I have first-hand knowledge of the Maureen Joy Charter School and other historic renovations. Self-Help has financed or developed over 15 historic properties across the state in big cities and smaller towns including Asheville, Charlotte, Rocky Mount, Sanford and Wilmington. I have dealt with the technical challenges and I have witnessed the benefits.

One thing I know for sure: None of these properties would have been saved and repurposed without the state’s investment in historic rehabilitation.

Much of the renovation work done by Self-Help and others has focused on old manufacturing and mill facilities – large buildings that often have stood as vacant eyesores for decades. By investing in their rehabilitation, developers transform these decaying buildings into places where people can gather to work, live and enjoy recreation. These projects create jobs, increase local property values, enhance tourism and attract business investment. Moreover, by revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, they actually increase tax revenues collected by the state.

Skeptics might wonder why a state incentive is necessary in addition to a federal incentive. The answer is that without the federal and state incentives, it is generally not financially feasible to pursue renovating historic structures. Why? Because these projects are technically difficult and far more expensive than comparable new construction. A typical historic renovation costs one-third morethan building from scratch. And there is no site selection alternative.

Without state incentives many historic projects are not economical and simply won’t be done. That would be a huge lost opportunity, especially for economically depressed small towns that are rich in history but low in wealth. The other benefit to the state is that it is risk free – the incentive is received only if and when the project is completed.

Further, if potential investors can’t make deals work in North Carolina, they can easily find attractive opportunities elsewhere. Nearly all surrounding states have a historic preservation tax credit program.

Just last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a 25 percent state historic rehabilitation tax credit.

Despite all this positive impact, our state’s incentive program will end this year if the legislature doesn’t renew it.

But there is hope. Gov. Pat McCrory’s departments of Commerce and Cultural Resources have proposed a modified Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program that would keep historic investment activity flowing in North Carolina, while addressing concerns about the incentive’s overall cost. It is critical that the governor’s program, under consideration at the General Assembly, is included in the final budget.

In these tight budget times the pressure our elected officials face is intense, but we all cherish North Carolina’s heritage and future prosperity – they are well worth this investment that pays for itself many times over.

Tucker Bartlett is executive vice president for lending and development for Self-Help in Durham.

This Op-Ed ran in the News & Observer on June 10, 2014.


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Gov. Pat McCrory in April rolled out a plan for restructuring the historic-preservation tax credit, one that would keep the program going for another five years while capping the subsidy for any single project.

Announcing the proposal in High Point, McCrory said preservation projects have the potential to rebuild entire neighborhoods, and that he wants them “repeated across North Carolina.”

But N.C. Senate budget writers didn’t include the plan in their version of the state’s fiscal 2014-15 budget. Supporters are now pinning their hopes on the N.C. House, which can force a debate by writing the McCrory plan into their counter to the Senate budget.

A major lobbying effort involving preservationists, business interests, town and city officials from around the state and even the governor’s cabinet secretaries is underway, on the assumption the House will roll out its own budget bill next week.

(Durham Herald-Sun, 6/4/14)

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The Preservation Society today urges support for the proposed Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program that will continue North Carolina’s legacy of leveraging historic preservation to spur economic development and create jobs.

The program maintains many of the incentives of the current historic tax credit program (scheduled to sunset at the end of this year), while reducing the potential cost to the state. The tax credit program has helped bring in more than $1.7 billion in private investment to North Carolina since 1976 while preserving the state’s priceless historic character.

“Investing in North Carolina’s historic structures preserves our history and creates jobs. These programs make cultural and economic sense,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “Historic revitalization means jobs, economic development and a rebirth of many downtowns. Companies are relocating to these spaces from across this great nation and from around the world.”

(Asheville Citizen-Times, 6/5/14)

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The fate of state tax credits that encourage historic preservation is in the hands of the N.C. House of Representatives, which has yet to roll out its answer to the Senate’s budget plan for the next fiscal year. The credits have been important in efforts to revitalize both residential and commercial property of historic value, and North Carolina would lose if the tax credits are allowed to expire at the end of this year.

Although Gov. Pat McCrory proposed continuing the credits in a modified and less generous form, he emphasized their importance in a state that is full of historic homes, storefronts and even industrial buildings. In unveiling his proposal, which would reduce the value of the credits but pay them out more quickly, the governor made it clear that he supports efforts that help preserve those pieces of our history.

(Wilmington Star News, 6/6/14)
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Gov. Pat McCrory in April rolled out a plan for restructuring the historic-preservation tax credit, one that would keep the program going for another five years while capping the subsidy for any single project.

Announcing the proposal in High Point, McCrory said preservation projects have the potential to rebuild entire neighborhoods, and that he wants them “repeated across North Carolina.”

But N.C. Senate budget writers didn’t include the plan in their version of the state’s fiscal 2014-15 budget. Supporters are now pinning their hopes on the N.C. House, which can force a debate by writing the McCrory plan into their counter to the Senate budget.

(The Herald-Sun, 6/4/14)

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Curtis Booker hadn’t been over to Leigh Farm in a while, so he paid a call the other day and he found the place rather depressing.

“Not particularly inviting,” he said. “It leaves a lot to the imagination in terms of a historic site.”

It was, though, an overcast Friday afternoon, the place is sort of off the beaten track and maybe not that many other people know that it’s a public park yet.

By way of introduction, Leigh Farm is an 1830s farmstead in southern Durham, homeplace of Richard Stanford Leigh, a father of 20 and grandfather to 89 to whom, according to Booker, a thousand or so Durham-area households can today claim kin. His included.

The old farmhouse is still there, along with the smokehouse and corn crib Yankee soldiers raided in 1865. There’s a log slave cabin with a chimney made of wooden sticks that has survived for all these years, a carriage house and a grapevine more than 100 years old.

(The Durham News, 6/2/14)

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The announcement will be made at High Point’s Pickett Cotton Mill, which is being adaptively reused as a furniture factory. The Belgian-based company BuzziSpace Inc. is upfitting the location.

McCrory came to High Point in February when BuzziSpace unveiled plans to create 113 jobs and invest more than $1.75 million over the next five years. The company designs and makes workspace furniture, acoustical treatments, fabrics and wallpaper.

(High Point Enterprise, 4/23/14)

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With the 2014 General Assembly less than a month from session, the City of Wilmington has updated its legislative agenda to support not only the threatened film tax credit, but a second set of credits locals say are a major player in historic character.

The state’s Historic Preservation Tax Credits–set to expire at the end of this year–are incentives for the private rehabilitation of old structures across North Carolina. Officials say Wilmington, being the hive of history that it is, has benefited greatly under the program.

(4/18/14, PortCityDaily)

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RALEIGH — The answer to when exactly the historic Crabtree Jones House was built may be ingrained in its own beams and planks.

Preservationists long have said the house dates back to around 1795, but they hope to pinpoint a more exact date by studying the tree rings found in the wood of the house, a technique known as dendrochronology.

The rings are a fingerprint of sorts that show how a tree grew and can indicate when it was cut down, offering a valuable clue about when its wood was used in construction.

With that information, preservationists hope to learn more about when the original Crabtree Jones House and its additions were built.

The house takes its name from early Raleigh settler Nathaniel “Crabtree” Jones, who is thought to have built it and who was active in local and state politics.

The more information preservationists have about the house itself, the better they say they can understand how people lived in it – and in Raleigh and North Carolina as well.

“It will help us tell a richer, fuller story of the Jones family’s lives,” said Robert Parrott, Jr., interim regional director of nonprofit Preservation North Carolina, which currently owns the house.

Of particular interest are the house’s additions. In some cases, it’s obvious where the house was added on to – in a bathroom with an exterior wall facing inward, for example.

But, it’s not always clear when the additions were made or why.

With better information about dates and further research into the period, the preservationists can better understand the culture of the time, said Lauren Werner, director of education outreach at the nonprofit.

In this case, the information might reveal who was keeping up with the Joneses, or who the Joneses themselves were watching and emulating.

In February, the historic Federal-style house was moved from its location on a wooded hilltop off Wake Forest Road to a new site about 700 feet away in the Crabtree Heights neighborhood, to make room for a new apartment complex.


Tree ring data

Mick Worthington, a dendrochronologist with the Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory, started taking samples from the house at its new location last week.

He’s in search of unique tree ring sequences that can be compared to existing samples to determine when the tree that produced the wood was cut down.

Trees typically produce a new layer of growth, or a ring, under their bark each year that varies in size based on conditions such as rainfall and temperature. A good growing year generally produces a wider ring than a less favorable one.

If there are enough rings in the wood, the pattern can be compared against the pattern in samples where the dates already are known. Once the date the tree was felled is known, other sources can be used to determine whether the wood likely would have been used immediately.

Worthington plans to take about 10 samples from three areas of the house to help date its construction. The samples are cores of wood that look like drumsticks or pencils. Ideally, each will show at least 50 years of growth and include a bark edge for the most accurate dating.

Worthington, who has worked on buildings in England and across the U.S., said that people generally seek his services because they want to know more about a place that intrigues them.

“It’s just a house with a good story,” he said.

The Crabtree Jones House is currently on the market for $350,000 with rehabilitation expected to cost an additional $400,000 to $450,000. Buyers must agree to rehab the house with some restrictions to ensure its historic nature.

But the goal is to have a family living there once again.

“We would love for it to be used as a private residence again. ” Werner said.

The nonprofit plans to host an open house sometime this spring.

Raleigh News & Observer, 2/28/14