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Council urges Congress to keep historic tax credit
Measure offers incentives for repurposing historic buildings
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Historic building tax credit

Gainesville properties benefiting from the federal historic tax credit

411 Green St.: Baker-White-Sheridan House

This home was proposed for demolition before being purchased and renovated by Michael and Christine Slate. The property is now home to the Southern Realty group. 

403 Green St.: Turner-Estes House

This property was renovated with the help of the tax credit and is now under different ownership. The property is available for lease according to local listings.

200 Main St. Hunt Hotel/Hunt Tower:

Renovated with tax credit and includes the offices of law firm Stewart Melvin & Frost.

The Gainesville City Council has joined other municipalities across the state in signing a letter of support for the federal historic tax credit, which offers incentives for the reuse of historic buildings to drive economic development and create new jobs.

The tax credit is particularly beneficial to Gainesville, which has a number of historic homes and buildings that have been repurposed for commercial use over the years.

 “We’ve got a tremendous inventory of historical homes and properties in and around Gainesville,” said Mayor Danny Dunagan.

In a letter to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, also signed by leadership in Athens-Clarke County, Macon, Augusta and Milledgeville — among other places — the council cautions about the impact scrapping the tax credit could have.

“Weakening or eliminating the federal credit, as has been proposed by some in Washington (D.C.), would endanger the economic feasibility of nearly all historic rehabilitation projects in Georgia,” the letter states.

The tax credit has helped finance the renovation of 349 commercial properties in Georgia, generating more than $458 million in private investment, according to the letter. The federal government has allocated some $21 billion in tax credits during the 35-year life on the incentive.

Georgia also has its own historic tax credit, with the state approving about $85 million in rehabilitation projects, including the redevelopment of the Sears building into the Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

Jessica Tullar, special projects manager in the Gainesville Community Development Department, said the tax credit has been used in several instances in Gainesville to preserve historic buildings and homes along Green Street and the downtown square.

This includes the historic Hunt Tower along Main Street, which is home to the offices of law firm Stewart Melvin & Frost.

“It’s expensive to rehabilitate them,” Dunagan said, adding that the tax credit makes it more affordable, and is also a great way to preserve historic districts. “We want to preserve Green Street the very best we can.”

The tax credit is also seen as way to help spur additional development.

“As Congress works to reform our nation’s tax code, we ask that you protect and enhance this federal incentive that uses historic assets of the past to meet the needs of Georgia’s 21st century economy,” the letter concludes.

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