Support State Historic Preservation Tax Incentives

Thank you to everyone that supported the Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act this year. Unfortunately, the legislation was not included in the budget. However, your voice was heard on TN’s Capitol Hill! You raised awareness of the importance of a state historic tax incentives and educated hundreds of people about the issue. Let’s keep up the momentum and fighting for Tennessee’s historic built environment.

Tennessee’s main street and downtown communities throughout the state – both rural and urban – will benefit from tax incentives. The goal is to attract private capital to revitalize historic buildings and main street communities, creating desirable places to live and work. Job creation and economic development are proven effects of state historic rehabilitation programs.

Overview & Resources

  • Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act – Legislative Summary
    • This is a overview of the SB 1053 / HB 1063 sponsored by Senator Bo Watson and Rep. Kevin Vaughn in 2019.
  • TN Historic Project Case Studies & Potential Projects
    • This is a list of projects that were completed in Tennessee utilizing the Federal Historic Tax Credit as well as a list of potential projects that could be completed if Tennessee had a Historic Preservation Tax Credit.
  • Report on State Historic Tax Credits: Maximizing Preservation, Community Revitalization, and Economic Impact (November 2018) – The National Trust envisions a future where leaders who make decisions impacting our neighborhoods consider the reuse of historic buildings an essential strategy to create more inclusive, prosperous, and resilient communities. The National Trust has long supported the enactment of state historic tax credits (HTC) as a way of promoting building reuse.
    • Just one example provided in the study:
        “Without historic tax credits, projects like mine would not be feasible. Since I took the risk
        to rehabilitate the former 1940s Sears building into a 28-room boutique hotel and loft
        apartments, nine or ten other properties have been sold along the street. We now have
        nearly 75 employees [in the hotel, restaurant and bar] and it’s hard to find a parking spot
        downtown. What a good problem to have.”
        My Hometown from Blue Magnolia Films on Vimeo.
  • Federal Historic Tax Preservation Projects in Tennessee (2002-2016) 
    • A total of 173 Federal Historic Tax Credit projects received Part 3 certifications from the National Park Service between fiscal year 2002 through 2016, resulting in over $600 million in total development. This report lists all of these projects. Without this critical funding, some of these projects never would have happened.

Current Media Coverage

View President Reagan’s speech about the Federal Historic Tax Credit.

Tennessee is failing to attract the private capital attracted by neighboring states (particularly Virginia) with state historic rehabilitation programs.The program would preserve our state’s unique history and character, while also creating jobs and generating new state and local tax revenue that more than pays for the cost of the incentive.Often the rehabilitation of a dormant and vacant building has a positive, catalytic impact on the surrounding neighborhood and community, spurring revitalization of a blighted area.

Many would benefit from this program:

  • TN downtowns seeking to revitalize dormant or vacant historic buildings into new businesses, housing and tourist attractions
  • Property owners who currently cannot afford to rehabilitate or convert historic buildings to code
  • Small businesses seeking an attractive space for customers
  • Civic leaders who want to see property values and tax revenues increased to pay for local services
  • State leaders who want to see economic growth, increased state revenues (by putting vacant historic structures back on the tax revenue rolls) and job creation.