Competition for state historic tax credits remains extremely high.
The Maryland Historical Trust, an agency within the Maryland Department of Planning, announced it has awarded $9 million in Sustainable Communities Tax Credits to six projects. Those tax credits are expected to help developers leverage construction projects with a total cost of more than $50 million. The tax credits program is a refundable credit program that goes to a project’s owners.
“First of all, this is the money available for historic rehabilitation of commercial buildings. The program allows for underutilized commercial buildings with to be rehabilitated and put into productive-use circumstances that without the credits could not be done. And lastly, many of these projects are able to secure permanent financing with the tax credit being awarded,” John Coleman, Maryland Department of Planning’s public information officer, said in an email in response to questions about the tax credits.
“First of all, this is the money available for historic rehabilitation of commercial buildings,” John Coleman, the department’s spokesman, said in an emailed response to questions about the tax credits. “The program allows for underutilized commercial buildings to be rehabilitated and put into productive-use circumstances that without the credits could not be done. And lastly, many of these projects are able to secure permanent financing with the tax credit being awarded.”
Between fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2016, the program has awarded slightly more than $43 million, according to the state.
For this latest round of tax credits, the state received 19 applications seeking a total of $32.4 million. The six projects chosen this year were selected using criteria including historic rehabilitation standards established by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
A study by the Abell Foundation credits the tax credits with helping create 27,000 jobs since the tax credits were first made available in 1996, when they were known as the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Since then, the state claims it has invested up to $370 million in renovation projects as a result.
The project that received the largest amount of tax credits in the state this year, $3 million, is the rehabilitation of the former A. Hoen & Co. Lithography Plant. The redevelopment of the building is being handled by Cross Street Partners and City Life Builders.
The property was originally built in 1898 for the Bagby Furniture Co. But it served as home of the A. Hoen & Co. Lithography Plants from 1902 to 1981 before that business closed. Renovations of the East Baltimore property are for a mixed-use development, with a brewery and cafe as well as office space for nonprofits and apartments aimed at attracting healthcare workers.
John Renner, Cross Street Partners’ development director, said his company would issue a press release about receiving the credits in the next few days but declined to comment before that was issued.
The Footer’s Dye Works building in Cumberland received $1.87 million. The former dyeing and cleaning facility dates back to 1905. Washington, D.C.-based Joy Development intends to transform the building into a mixed-use development that will include rental units, a restaurant/brewery and office space. Calls for comment to Joy Development were not immediately returned.
Another East Baltimore project, the St. Michael’s Church Complex, received $2.8 million in tax credits to facilitate its conversion into a mix of commercial space and apartments. The complex was built between 1850 and 1927 and served as a hub for German immigrants.
The Hearn Building, a former furniture and hardware store in Cambridge that dates back to 1915 received $959,034; the Academy School in Cambridge was awarded $287,500; and the Sykesville Hotel, built in 1905 received $58,000.