Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Benefiting Communities

Rachel Torbert
Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Benefiting Communities
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the second round of recipients for a new statewide historic preservation income tax credit program encouraging private investment in historic properties in Illinois. The second round allocated credits to three projects creating affordable artist or senior housing in Granite City, Rock Island and Moline.

“The program has incentivized private investment to create much needed affordable, veteran, and senior housing, construction jobs, boost local economies and bring unused buildings back to life and back onto the tax rolls,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “Together with the related businesses located in those buildings, millions in state and local tax revenues are generated.”

Priority is given to buildings that are in low-income census tracts, federally-declared disaster areas, and counties that border a state with a competitive statewide historic tax credit. Buildings that were once owned by a government entity, and whose development partnership includes a Community Development Entity, a low-profit organization, or a not-for-profit organization also are given priority for an allocation.

The following three historic building renovations received an allocation for future state income tax credits in the second round of Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credits:

• Arsenal Courts in Rock Island, built during WWII as emergency housing for workers at the Rock Island Arsenal, is being rehabilitated into affordable housing.
• The former Granite City YMCA is being converted into affordable housing, as well as commercial space, art studios, and a gallery.
• The former Garfield School in Moline is being rehabilitated as affordable senior housing.

During this first year of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, complete applications were received from applicants representing a total of 25 historic properties in 12 different communities. The total private investment of all projects applying to the program is estimated to be more than $600 million. The total amount of credits requested were approximately $54 million. Due to program caps, only $15 million in credits were allocated to seven projects in 2019. However, that $15 million is leveraging more than $152 million in private expenditures.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, administered by the IDNR State Historic Preservation Office, is available to owners of historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitations making them eligible for a tax credit of up to $3 million per project based on a percentage of their rehabilitation costs. Credits are limited to a total of $15 million in allocations per year, with a total of $75 million in tax credits available over the five years that the program is to be in effect.

Of the seven projects allocated state credits this year, six created either senior, affordable veterans, or artist housing. The following four historic building renovations received an allocation for a future state income tax credit in the first round allocated in August 2019:

• The former Hotel Belleville, located at 16 South Illinois Street, Belleville, will be converted into affordable senior housing with ground floor retail. 
• The former Cook County Hospital Administration Building, located at 1835 West Harrison Street, Chicago, will be converted into two hotels, offices, and retail.
• The former Paris High School, located at 309 South Main in Paris, Illinois will be rehabilitated into affordable and senior apartments.
• The former nurses’ quarters at Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital (Building #14), located at 5000 South 5th Avenue, Hines, will be rehabilitated into supportive veterans housing.

The tax credits are not issued until each project is successfully completed meeting all program requirements and substantial private investment will already have been made in these communities before the credit is issued.

For more information on the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, contact Carol Dyson, 217-524-0276, or Darius Bryjka, 217-558-8918, with the IDNR State Historic Preservation Office.
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