Bill to encourage rehab of historic buildings passed both Assembly and Senate
State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-60, and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, on Monday encouraged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign into law legislation that provides the potential for the revitalization of downtown Buffalo by increasing the maximum award available under the historic preservation tax credit from $5 million to $12 million for developers willing to rehabilitate historic buildings.
Grisanti's camp said the historic preservation tax credit is a great tool to help revitalize historic properties throughout New York state, and the law helps larger projects proceed. This tax credit has aided developers in the redevelopment of historic buildings in Western New York, from the Hotel Lafayette and Statler City to Artspace Buffalo. Current law puts a cap of $5 million on the project, which can act as a disincentive for the development of larger, more blighted or more expensive projects. The amended law continues the 20 percent credit, but raises the maximum threshold to $12 million.
"The governor has said he knows that Buffalo has an abundance of riches when it comes to beautiful buildings with architecture worth saving and restoring. He needs to sign this legislation and make it law so we can encourage those thinking of preserving the next Richardson Complex or Central Terminal to take the leap and engage in reconstruction projects," Grisanti said. "The Central Terminal has been more than just an economical success. It serves a civic function like the Washington Monument of Buffalo to bring people together. Hopefully, we can create more beautiful buildings to teach us the value of history."
"This bill is all about spurring job creation in Western New York," Ryan said. "This area is home to many historic structures that can be transformed, renovated and brought back to life. Just take a look at what historic tax credits did for the Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo. A once abandoned structure has been transformed into a hub of activity that will be a boon for the surrounding area. By expanding this tax credit, builders and developers will be able to invest in larger and more expensive projects and help to turn our historic structures into new, usable and functioning buildings."
"The passage of the historic preservation tax credit increase was one of the Partnership Buffalo Building Reuse Project's top legislative priorities. This tax credit increase will be instrumental for catalytic rehabilitation projects in downtown Buffalo, as well as other Upstate metros. Because of Senator Mark Grisanti's leadership and persistence on this bill, greater private investment in urban redevelopment can become a reality," said Andrew Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "This is a significant step towards the revitalization of downtown Buffalo, and provides an important tool for developers who see opportunity in our downtown core. This tax credit, coupled with other BBRP legislation we are pushing, can combat current vacancy rates, improve economic conditions and leverage more downtown investment. It is my hope that Governor Cuomo signs this bill promptly, for the good of Buffalo and other metropolitan areas throughout upstate."
"As a developer, the historic preservation tax credit is a great incentive to move forward on the revitalization of a historic structure. Raising the cap on this tax credit will make it possible to take on larger more expensive buildings," said Rocco Termini, president, Signature Development. "Presently I am working on the renovation of the long-deserted AM&A's Department Store. The plan is to convert the structure into a mix of uses that could be a key to making downtown into the vibrant city center it once was. The increase of the tax credit would be instrumental in making this project a reality."
"Tax credits are so important to allow the developer to reduce the amount of debt incurred while keeping the rent affordable," said businessman Mark Croce. "I have tackled two big projects recently, including Statler City and the Curtiss Building - both of which are transformational projects for the City of Buffalo. Working with our partners, we have successfully created jobs, preserved Buffalo's grand history, and helped put these buildings back on the tax roll. I am more enthusiastic than ever before about the restoration of historic buildings, and we need the governor to move on this tax increase as an incentive for developers to continue in this direction."