Monthly Blog

The Economics of Charm: Planning for the Future with History

Photo: Front of the Sylvanus Mulford House, located at 65 Church Street in Montrose, Pennsylvania, United States. Built in 1818, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Source: Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

By: Hillori Schenker ∼MRC Board Member∼

Ask any visitor to Montrose about the borough, and the response usually contains the words charming, historic, or quaint. Aside from pleasant scenery and friendly people, our community offers benefits to property owners inside the registered and recognized Historic District. Being part of the Montrose Historic District has economic benefits for commercial or income-producing building owners, which can be used to maintain and rehabilitate their properties.

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is an honor roll of historic places throughout the United States noted for their significance to American history. Significance may include events, activities, or developments important to the past such as engineering achievements, architectural history, lives of important people, or other connections to the past. Additionally, properties must meet age and integrity requirements. That is, the historic property must invoke the past, much like the Borough of Montrose.

While much of an NRHP listing is just bragging-rights, there are financial benefits, too! For properties listed on the NRHP, or within a historic district, like the Montrose Historic District, the federal government offers tax credits and charitable contribution deductions. Available to historic income-producing property-owners, the Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit can return up to 20% of the cost of building rehabilitation. Non-historic buildings in a historic district may still qualify for a 10% tax credit. These economic benefits began in the 1976, significantly strengthened by President Regan in 1986, and continue into the future as a part of the 2017 tax-overhaul.

Before any property-owner receives tax credits, he/she should consult with the state. Two government offices must review the project. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission reviews applications, if approved they pass them along to the National Park Service for final certification. The reviews ensure that properties qualify and that rehabilitation work meets or exceeds the standard of the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Life in our rural community offers many intangible benefits. Through forethought and planning, local community members may also reap some tax benefits of living in a historic, and quaint community. The forethought will help our town continue charming future generations.

For more information, on tax credits, visit: http://www.phmc.pa.gov/Preservation/Grants-Funding/Pages/Federal-Tax-Credits.aspx

For more information on the Montrose Historic District, visit: http://www.dot7.state.pa.us/CRGIS_Attachments/SiteResource/H087014_01H.pdf

To review the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation, visit: https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm

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