Future development of Denver's historic buildings could take a big hit under the GOP tax plan

Republicans could eliminate historic tax credit
Posted at 6:54 PM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 23:02:24-05

DENVER -- Ronald Reagan put the federal historic tax credit into the U.S. tax code, President Donald Trump’s company benefited from it, and now Republicans are fighting to get rid of it -- a move which could impact efforts to revitalize Denver's historic buildings.

"It provides a 20 percent tax credit that goes into the investment of the buildings, and that has put a lot of vacant and underutilized buildings back into action in our communities," Annie Levinsky who runs Historic Denver told Denver7.

The nonprofit dedicated to saving historic buildings is now fighting to save its most important preservation tool.

"We would characterize the loss of the credit as a historic decision in the wrong way," Levinsky said. "Our message to Congress is to save the credit to make sure it's reincorporated into the tax code."

Historic Denver said the federal tax credit has already made it possible to revitalize 380 historic buildings in Colorado, generating $2.1 billion in economic growth.

"Buildings that we all frequent and take for granted today were made possible by this program," Levinsky said.

The recent renovation of Denver's Union Station, Lowenstein Theater on Colfax and the Sugar Building Downtown were all made possible by the tax credit.

Levinsky also said there are currently 23 active projects, with plans to use the credit, that are now in jeopardy including Tammen Hall.

The historic art deco building is slated to be transformed into 49 affordable housing units for seniors, but it's rebirth is dependent on the program.

"I think they'll be a lot of uncertainty for projects like that, they haven't started construction yet so they could have to postpone the project," Levinsky said.

The House completely removed the historic tax credit from its bill, while the Senate added a weakened version of it back in but that could still change.

Levinsky hopes congress votes in favor of preserving history.

"It will really have, I think, a dire impact on historic buildings both in Denver and statewide."