Pictured here is the Flatiron Building located on Main Street in downtown Wheeling. It had been vacant for years before being totally transformed into loft housing with a first-floor coffee shop. This $2.5 million dollar project qualified for $632,653 in state historic rehabilitation tax credits and created 19 constructions jobs.
In 2017, the West Virginia Legislature voted to increase the state historic rehabilitation tax credit from 10% to 25%. However parts of the legislation will affect future reinvestment opportunities and even discontinue the tax credit increase. A network of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and private investors have joined together to ask the Legislature to address these issues and are asking for support in favor of SB344, which was introduced by Senator Weld (R-1) with Senators Plymale (D-5) and Woelfel (D-5) as co-sponsors.
SB344 is a bi-partisan bill that will:
the state historic rehabilitation tax credit works for west virginia!
From 2018 to 2021, the historic rehabilitation tax credit has attracted renewed interest in our historic commercial districts and spurred private reinvestment in over 80 vacant and dilapidated buildings (some of which are pictured above). When a vacant or underutilized building is repurposed, it generates additional revenues to local government through increased property taxes. Once the state's initial investment is recouped, the project continues to yield positive economic impacts through a combination of sales, income, and business taxes.
In 2018 & 2019, over $34 million dollars were invested to finish 9 projects in Charleston, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Franklin, Huntington, Spencer, and Wheeling. These projects created 256 construction jobs for West Virginia. Rehabilitation projects support higher labor costs for construction jobs rather than new materials and also utilize in-state trades and professional services such as legal, accounting, architectural, and engineering, as well as wholesale trade and retail trade.
Large and small-scale developers report that historic rehabilitation tax credit programs fill a critical financing gap. The 25% rate provides an incentive to make a difference in a developer's decision to undertake a rehabilitation project, and it makes projects more feasible for individuals.
How Does the tax credit work?
When rehabbing a certified historic building for a commercial purpose, owners apply for tax credits through the WV State Historic Preservation Office. A building is considered a certified historic structure when it is either individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places or contributing within a historic district.
The state historic rehabilitation tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in income tax liability and can only be applied to the owner's annual income after a rehabilitation project is complete. State and local governments benefit from an increase in employment and other tax revenue even before the tax credit is claimed.
Learn more about what you can do to help.
National Heritage Area designation for Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area became official with the President’s signing on March 12 of S.47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, the also known as the Natural Resources Management Act.
The Bill also included a wide variety of designations and land management bills from across the country, including the Sportsman Act and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bipartisan bill passed in the Senate on February 12, and in the House on February 26, by overwhelming majorities.
Sen. Joe Manchin, sponsor of the original Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area Act, and a co‐ sponsor of the Senate Natural Resources Management Act, said “The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is a treasure that has done a great deal for West Virginia. This national designation is long overdue.” The Appalachian Forest designation bill was also co‐sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Sen. Ben Cardin, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen.
The companion House bill is sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, with co‐sponsors in the previous session from Rep. Evan Jenkins, Rep. John Delaney, and Rep. Alex Mooney, and in the current session adding co‐ sponsors Rep. Carol Miller and Rep. David Trone.
“Creating an Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area will allow us to continue to celebrate and promote the beauty of our state, preserve our heritage and plan for the future,” Rep. McKinley said of the legislation. “National Heritage Areas deliver a significant economic return and helps us showcase the sometimes‐hidden gems of our cultural heritage.”
“We are incredibly excited to be finally receiving National Heritage Area designation for the Appalachian Forest,” said Phyllis Baxter, Executive Director of Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, Inc, the coordinating entity for the newly designated area. “We have been working on this for fifteen years, and are so pleased to now be nationally recognized. This designation will increase our visibility to attract tourism, and increase our capacity to help local communities.”
National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. With the official national heritage area designation the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area can earn recognition as being nationally significant, and will have access to National Park Service technical assistance and funding to provide more services to the region.
The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area works in 16 counties of West Virginia and 2 counties of western Maryland on conservation, forestry, cultural heritage, tourism and community development. With the overall theme of forest heritage, the initiative works with willing partners to explore and enhance the relationship between the forested mountains and the people who live here.
For more information see www.appalachianforest.us, email email@example.com, or call 304‐636‐ 6182.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is praising federal legislative action this week for protecting the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, which is part of 18 counties including Randolph County.
Manchin, a ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, secured the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the national designation of the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area and an increase in the funding cap for the Wheeling National Heritage Area as part of the Natural Resources Management Act.
“I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to finally permanently reauthorize LWCF so our land management agencies can operate fully and without the fear of losing access to the funding they rely on. The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is a treasure in Randolph County and this national designation is long overdue,” Manchin added.
“By reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill supports West Virginia’s heritage and outdoor recreation economy and keeps faith with the important idea that America’s outdoors and public lands are part of who we are as a nation,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers.
LWCF is a conservation tool that ensures states and federal public land management agencies are able to protect and conserve our natural resources without relying on taxpayer dollars. In West Virginia, LWCF funded the acquisitions of the Gauley River National Recreation Area, New River Gorge National River and Dolly Sods. Since 1965, more than $243 million in LWCF funds have been spent in West Virginia on more than 500 projects, both on state and federal lands.
This includes improvements to local parks and public spaces in 54 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
To read the full article, visit the Intermountain's website at www.theintermountain.com/news/local-news/2019/02/forest-heritage-area-receives-designation/?fbclid=IwAR1sTMTTTLEegcPCRiZrjqIitSA2InvF1267CLT4wF1MFTAPznAV8dW4BKA
Join PAWV in supporting the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) in its effort to be designated by Congress as a National Heritage Area. Your expression of support NOW for Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area will help bring this long-sought goal to life.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Tell your U.S. Representatives and Senators you support Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area designation. Showing them strong grassroots support will inspire action!
See HERE for a contact list and HERE for sample letters and talking points.
For over 15 years, AFHA has worked for conservation and community development in our 18-county region. AFHA conserves, develops, interprets and promotes a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences, benefiting communities and the environment throughout the highlands of West Virginia and western Maryland. Now is the time to expand these efforts during our spring 2018 support letter campaign.
AFHA began seeking National Heritage Area (NHA) designation with the approval of our Feasibility Study by the National Park Service in 2006. For the study, more than 150 different private, government and non-profit agencies as well as individuals wrote in support (see list of letters HERE) of this designation.
Today, we need to show that support again.
Currently, two bills, Senate Bill 401 and House Resolution 3142, have been introduced in Congress to designate the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area. This designation will bring national recognition of the importance of the Appalachian Forest Heritage story, as well as technical assistance through the National Park Service and funding for local projects.
WHAT IS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA?
For over 30 years, National Heritage Areas have been telling America’s story. They are designed as a cost-effective way of conserving our nation’s natural and historic resources. This approach has been validated in 49 areas around the country, including two in West Virginia (Wheeling National Heritage Area and the National Coal Heritage Area), that have developed dynamic partnerships among local governments, non-profit groups and businesses.
The National Heritage Area program in a nutshell:
Let’s look at figures from one of West Virginia’s NHAs. The National Coal Heritage Area (NCHA) generates $207 million annually in economic impact, supports 2,744 jobs and generates $16.8 million in tax revenue. This economic impact consists of: tourism ($205.3 million), operations ($1.1 million), grant making activities ($419,000), and capital expenditures ($238,000).* The NCHA has been a driver of economic development in that southern West Virginia region and transformed communities through preservation and celebration of their rich coal history.
The opportunities for our region are similarly limitless; for we are unique. No other NHA has identified forest heritage as its primary theme. NHA status would provide support and funding for the region to develop interpretation and cultural programs; conserve our unique assets, recognize the role of past, present and future of the forest industry; strengthen our forest heritage identity; and share this amazing legacy with visitors.
For the history of Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area effort, including Feasibility Study, see HERE
We're pleased to share that the 20 percent federal historic tax credit (HTC) was retained in the final tax reform bill. Keeping the federal historic tax credit as a permanent part of the tax code is a significant victory for the historic preservation community—especially considering that the first House version eliminated the credit.
We owe this success to the thousands of advocates who rose to the occasion and made your voices heard, as well as to the leadership of key members of Congress. We are particularly grateful to Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) for exhibiting strong leadership during this process.
On Friday, December 15, House and Senate conference committee members reached agreement on the details of major tax legislation that will now proceed to a final vote in both chambers this week. The agreed-upon version keeps the historic tax credit at 20 percent but requires that the credit be taken over five years instead of all at once. The legislation repeals the 10 percent rehabilitation tax credit for non-historic buildings, but it does retain the New Markets Tax Credit.
Inclusion of the historic tax credit in the most significant tax legislation to move through Congress in more than three decades is an exceptional reaffirmation that rehabilitation of historic buildings is sound federal policy and good for the nation. While several steps remain before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) becomes law, please take a moment to reflect on what a significant accomplishment retention of the historic tax credit is for the preservation movement and for the betterment of our communities. With the recent increase in the state historic tax credit to 25%, West Virginians will have access to 45% in combined state and federal tax credits when undertaking construction on a historic income-producing property. The 25% increase takes effect on January 1, 2018.
Thank you to the many preservationists, practitioners, and stakeholders who worked countless hours to ensure this critical preservation tool remains a pillar of federal historic preservation policy. Thank you to Congressmen McKinley and Jenkins for standing up to retain the historic tax credit and signing a Tax Credit letter focused on the Historic Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit.
You can thank Congressman McKinley through his website at https://mckinley.house.gov/email-me/. He has been instrumental in leading the effort to save the historic tax credit.
You can thank Congressman Jenkins through his website at evanjenkins.house.gov/contact/email.
Urgent Action Needed: Advocate for a 20% HTC in Final House/Senate Reconciled Bill
Early on Saturday morning, the United States Senate passed its tax reform bill on a vote of 51-49, moving the legislation to a House and Senate Conference Committee to reconcile the two versions of tax reform. The Senate bill restores the 20% Historic Tax Credit (HTC) with a provision that it will be claimed over five years.
Your immediate ACTION is needed!
All advocates should be fully activated across the country, connecting with both House and Senate offices.
Call-to-Action: Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff. Scroll down for contact information and suggested messages:
1. Introduce Yourself as a Constituent
McKinley, David - (R - WV, 1)
Suggested thank you: "I would like to thank the Congressman for his leadership during the tax reform bill and for his efforts to preserve the 20% Federal historic tax credit. We hope the Congressman will continue to fight for this important financial development tool during House and Senate conference committees related to the tax reform bill."
Mooney, Alex - (R - WV, 2)
Jenkins, Evan - (R - WV, 3)
Suggested Message to Congressmen Mooney & Jenkins: I am calling to request your help to ensure the existing federal historic tax credit (HTC) is retained through the tax reform process. The House tax reform bill repeals the HTC, but the Senate Finance Committee is proposing to keep the historic tax credit in place with certain reductions to the incentive. We need the HTC retained at its current level of effectiveness so that this proven tool can continue to restore under-utilized buildings, create local jobs and revitalize older commercial districts.
2. Explain why you value Historic Tax Credits, and that the redevelopment of historic buildings will not get done without the HTC.
3. Let them know some previous and future HTC projects in your state/district
4. Touch on why these historic buildings are so challenging but important to our communities.
5. If your Member of Congress has agreed to help, please remember to thank them and tell others about their support!
Manchin, Joseph - (R - WV)
Capito, Shelley Moore - (R - WV)
Suggested thank you - “I would like to thank the Senator for supporting a tax reform bill that includes a 20% Historic Tax Credit in Senate tax reform bill. This is a significant improvement compared to the elimination in the House bill. Please communicate to Senate Republican Leaders and Chairman Hatch (R-UT) that they must not weaken important protections for the Historic Tax Credit when they reconcile the House and Senate bills.”
It is extremely important to keep all Capitol Hill communication constructive and respectful.
In November, Senate Finance Committee legislation eliminated the pre-1936 10% non-historic “old-building” credit and reduced the 20% HTC to 10%. HTC advocates were successful in working with Senator Cassidy (R-LA), and other Finance Committee Senators, to support a provision to restore the HTC to 20% for historic buildings. As a cost saving measure, the “Cassidy Amendment” provided that the 20% credit will be released over the 5-year compliance/recapture period (or 4% per year). The Finance Committee approved the provision, which was included in a Manager’s Amendment, on a party line vote.
The House passed a tax reform bill on November 16th. The House version of the bill eliminates both the 10% pre-1936 non-historic “old building” credit and the 20% HTC. With House Republicans highly motivated for a legislative win, few Republicans voted against the bill.
House members will still have an opportunity to voice their continuing support of the HTC when the House and Senate negotiate the final tax package. Many House members and supporters of the HTC have encouraged House Leadership to accept the improvements in the Senate bill and advocates are encouraged THIS WEEK to continue sending this message to their Members of Congress.
While advocates are disappointed they could not fully restore the 20% HTC to current law and prevent the elimination of the 10% pre-1936 rehabilitation credit, they are standing their ground, insisting on the Senate provision and that no further erosion takes place.
Urgent Action Requested!
The federal historic tax credit reduced in Senate Tax Reform Bill Release, House Committee Passes Tax Bill with HTC Eliminated
Today the Senate Finance Committee released their version of a tax reform bill that reduces the Historic Tax Credit in half, from 20% to 10% for historic buildings. Additionally, the 10% pre-1936 non-historic “old” building credit is eliminated.
Also today, the House Ways and Means Committee passed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) or H.R. 1, with the HTC entirely eliminated, on a party line vote 24-16, setting up full-House floor consideration next week.
Your immediate ACTION is needed!
How Can You Take Action?
Contact House and Senate Members - Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff.
A suggested outline of your email message or phone call:
All advocates should be fully activated across the country, connecting with both House and Senate offices, asking them to retain the HTC in tax reform bills, undiminished. The fate of the HTC will be determined over the next few weeks, please advocate and ask others to advocate!
The House of Representatives is expected to consider and vote on the bill on the House floor next week. Also next week, the Senate will begin to mark-up and pass their version of the tax reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee.
-Please contact your House Representative by COB Monday and ask them to work with House leadership to insert the HTC back into the final House bill.
-Contact your Senators by COB Monday and ask them to go to the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leadership, express support to retain the HTC in the Senate tax reform bill undiminished.
Despite our collective frustrations, it is extremely important to keep all Capitol Hill communication constructive and respectful.
Advocates Should Focus on Preserving the HTC not influencing the Transition Rules
While the House repeal transition rules have been described as both stingy and unclear, advocates should direct 100% of their advocacy to preserving the credit in its current form in the House and Senate. Should the need arise, there will be opportunities later in the legislative process to negotiate favorable transition rules. Now is not that time. Such actions could extinguish momentum advocates are gaining to retain the HTC in tax reform. There is a good chance the Senate bill passed out of committee will incorporate the historic tax credit and there is still opportunity for the HTC to be added back in the House bill.
U.S. Representatives Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., have been outspoken in their support for the credits, she said.
"We are grateful that McKinley and Jenkins requested the inclusion of this economic-development tool in the tax reform bill," LaPresta said.
"Both legislators represent districts in which historic tax credits are attracting private investment."
Historic tax credits helped finance 92 commercial-rehabilitation projects in West Virginia between 2002 and 2016, leveraging more than $175 million in development investment and supporting more than 3,500 construction jobs, she said.
"These credits are highly influential when it comes to attracting larger businesses into West Virginia downtowns," LaPresta said.
The tax credit was championed by President Ronald Reagan to encourage the rehabilitation of abandoned and underutilized properties. Since 1981, it has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment and created more than 2.4 million, she said.
The state Legislature in October increased the State Historic Tax Credit from 10 to 25 percent, but weakening or eliminating the Federal Historic Tax Credit could endanger the feasibility of nearly all historic rehabilitation projects in West Virginia.
"We think the credit complements, rather than hinders, Congress's goal of pro-growth tax reform," LaPresta said.
“There are a dozen buildings that we predicted would be rehabilitated with the increase of the state historic tax credit. Now, with the proposed elimination of the federal credit, we fear progress will be jeopardized."
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is a non-profit dedicated to historic preservation and a statewide partner in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
LaPresta is urging business leaders who wish to advocate for the federal historic tax credit to contact the alliance at 304-345-6005 or visit its website at PAWV.org.
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia
The West Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate, during this week’s special session of the Legislature, passed House Bill 203 to increase the State Historic Tax Credit from 10 percent to 25 percent.
Gov. Jim Justice placed the bill on the Special Session agenda after consultation with legislative leadership and interested parties.
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Abandoned Properties Coalition, US Green Building Council, W.Va. Chapter, W.Va. Community Development Hub, Wheeling Heritage, private developers, citizens, and municipalities joined together to create the Revitalize West Virginia Downtown Coalition.
That coalition developed a plan to increase the state historic tax credit to aid in economic development of the state and educate legislators on the importance of the historic rehabilitation tax credit.
Danielle LaPresta, executive director of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, said, “I am pleased that the Governor and legislature saw the potential of the historic tax credit to serve as a catalyst to revitalize West Virginia. This program will spark economic development throughout the state regardless of the size of the community.”
The governor is a strong ally of historic preservation in West Virginia, LaPresta said.
The 25 percent credit brings West Virginia to parity with neighboring states. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia have a 25 percent state historic tax credit; Maryland and Kentucky have a 20 percent tax credit. This increase will encourage the rehabilitation of historic buildings and spur private investment, create jobs, and help rid the state of vacant and underutilized buildings. Studies have shown that the estimated return on the state’s investment is approximately 2:1. This means for every dollar of tax credit provided by the state, two dollars of additional state taxes and revenue will be created through investments.
Renee Kuhlman, director of Policy Outreach, Government Relations and Policy from the National Trust for Historic Preservation said, “With these improvements, state legislators are putting West Virginia’s heritage to work and encouraging investors to bring their dollars to the Mountaineer State. States that have improved their historic tax credits have doubled the use of the federal historic tax credit and have seen construction jobs increase because renovation is labor intensive.”
The Legislature passed the legislation with overwhelming support in both houses.
Mike Gioulis, PAWV Advocacy chairperson, speaking for the coalition, said: “The coalition would like to thank all of the legislators that voted in favor of the bill, including the sponsors, Speaker Tim Armstead, R, Kanawha, and Tim Miley, D, Harrison. We appreciate that Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R, Ohio, and Senator Glenn Jeffries, D, Putnam, spoke in favor of the bill. We also would like to thank Chairman Eric Nelson, Jr., R, Kanawha, for his leadership on this issue.”
The group also values the support and leadership of Justice as well as his staff. The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office is developing standards and procedures to educate and promote the program to the public.
For more information relating to the historic tax credit program, contact Jennifer Brennan, State Historic Tax Credit Coordinator at 304-558-0240.
For additional information regarding this effort, contact the Preservation Alliance of WV Advocacy Chairman Mike Gioulis at 304-545-4881, or visit www.pawv.org and www.revitalizewvdowntowns.com.
News and Notes
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive e-news updates on historic preservation news and events in West Virginia.