Selma will benefit from preservation tax creditsPublished 10:54pm Friday, April 5, 2013
As of Thursday, cities in Alabama, like Selma will be able to reap monetary benefits of rehabilitating old, historic homes and buildings. The passage of House Bill 140 Thursday means Selmians will now get tax credits for preserving and restoring historical homes like Weaver Castle and the Baker-Brooks home.
Recently the Times-Journal spoke with real estate agents A.C. Reeves and Mandy Henry who rehab old buildings downtown. They currently reap the benefit of tax credits, but only from the city of Selma and not from the state — now that has changed. Henry and Reeves have a unique vision of reviving Selma’s downtown so that it is more residential, hence why the two have developed multiple loft apartments in the Southland building on Lauderdale and luxury loft apartments on Broad Street.
To see that vision come to life would be a wonderful leap for Selma and that vision is closer now that our representatives have voted in favor for these credits. Now there are more incentives to rehab an old buildings than to build a brand new building outside of the city.
We commend State Rep. Darrio Melton, who represents Selma in the 67th District for voting yes for HB 140. Selma has the largest, continuous historic district in the state of Alabama and as community history advocate Jacque Johnson said, “This would help us to restore these historic structures and enhance our community instead of demolishing them and leaving behind vacant lots.”
We also thank those community enthusiasts like Johnson and president of the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society for calling our representatives and encouraging them to pass this bill that will truly help our city grow and flourish. Less abandoned homes and broken windows and more houses on display during Pilgrimage is what we are seeing in the future, thanks to the passage of this bill and the enthusiasm of those in the community for preserving Selma’s architecture and historical structures.
Ellen Mertins with the Alabama Historical Commission said a study was done revealed that in Alabama preservation projects, 60 to 70 percent of the project is labor, which is usually hired locally and can create more jobs. $1 million in building rehabilitation generates more than most key industries.
Major rehabilitations cost 9 to 12 percent less than new construction and the life span of a historical home is typically 100 years versus a new home, which has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.
But the most interesting statistic is that in the 45 other states that have preservation tax credits, main street programs have nationally generated a reinvestment ratio of 27:1 for each dollar of community money invested.
Imagine preserving and rehabilitating our main streets in Selma — Water Avenue and Broad Street — to what they once were and holding on to the beauty that they adorn our city with forever.