State Historic Preservation Tax Credit extended for a year

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Peoria will continue to be able to offer Historic Preservation Tax Credits for another year, which will enable restorative work on old buildings in the River Edge Redevelopment Zone to continue.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday signed an amendment to Senate Bill 1488 to allow the extension of the tax credits to the end of 2017. They were due to expire at the end of this year.

The tax credits have been instrumental in the redevelopment of several buildings in the Warehouse District as well as the central business district downtown.

In the past two years alone, the City of Peoria has seen six different projects take advantage of the State Historic Tax Credit. These projects involve the restoration of abandoned and unproductive buildings, helping to leverage more than $32 million in investment to create 154 new residential units and thousands of square feet of retail and office space. Hundreds of construction jobs have also been created in the renovation of these projects. 

Peoria developments benefitting from the tax credit include Murray Place at 100 Walnut St.; Cooperage 214 at 214 Pecan St.; Persimmon Lofts, 1028 SW Adams St.; Winkler Lofts, 733 SW Washington and Marquette Apartments at 701 Main St. All combine living and commercial space.

Another project was the conversion of a historic church known as the Cornerstone Building into Obed & Isaac’s, a restaurant and microbrewery. Gov. Rauner was present to cut the ribbon there on opening day.

The first Peoria project to benefit from the state Historic Preservation Tax Credits was the multi-millions dollar renovation of the Hotel Pere Marquette Hotel. 

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis expressed gratitude to Rauner and members of the General Assembly that supported the legislation. “The construction activity in Downtown and the Warehouse District would not be possible without the State Historic Tax Credits. Hopefully the General Assembly will see the benefits of this invaluable economic development tool and pass a 5 year extension this spring,” he said.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, who helped pass the bill that created the historic preservation tax credit in 2011, approved the extension amendment, as well. The extension will allow several projects to move forward, including the Wilson Grocery Warehouse, Jobst-Bethard Warehouse and the Chic Manufacturing Building.

“Peoria was the first city in Illinois that was able to take advantage of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit during the renovation of the Pere Marquette Hotel,” Gordon-Booth said. “Since then, the tax credit has helped bring jobs, redevelopment and economic growth the Warehouse District.

“There is a $10 return for every dollar the state invests using this tax credit,” Gordon-Booth said. “When elected officials discuss how they can improve our business climate and create jobs, incentives like this one has to be part of the conversation. I will continue to promote the Historic Preservation Tax Credit and work to make it permanent.”

State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, also expressed gratitude. “I’m pleased to see the continuation of a plan that has already helped developers make a greater investment in Peoria,” he said. “I’m confident extending the Rivers Edge program will open up new opportunities to create thriving business in Peoria and many other communities throughout Illinois, and I applaud the governor’s action in signing this into law today.”

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).