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TODAY: CITY UNVEILS DOWNTOWN NATIONAL REGISTER DISTRICT

The San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) invites the community to a discussion this afternoon, Tuesday, about a newly proposed Downtown National Register District that, if designated, would incorporate more than 140 buildings.  These structures would be eligible for state and federal historic tax credits, which could help to support their rehabilitation and even, if applicable, formal historic preservation.  The event will be held 4 to 5 p.m. at 1901 S. Alamo St., inside the second floor training room. The National Register Process, proposed boundaries and the program behind historic tax credits, all will be presented.

Proposed District Map
Proposed District Map

This past summer, OHP funded a survey and draft nomination of downtown properties for a new National Register District. The survey produced a proposed downtown district that bridges a gap left by the Main/Military Plaza, Alamo Plaza and La Villita National Register Districts.  A kick-off meeting attended by property owners and stakeholders was held Aug. 25. Earlier this year, OHP released the results of an economic survey, “Historic Preservation: Essential to the Economy and Quality of Life in San Antonio,” confirming historic preservation not only makes good economic sense, but also builds a strong and vibrant urban core.  City officials have said tax credits for rehabilitation are an economic development tool, proven to be valuable to property owners and readily available.  Local and federal tax credit programs have been available to homeowners for some time, and in January 2015, the state of Texas introduced its own historic tax credit program.  The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation, and includes individual buildings, structures, sites, and districts.

Sheraton Gunter Hotel Is one of the buildings on the National Register that would be included in this proposed district
Sheraton Gunter Hotel Is one of the buildings on the National Register that would be included in this proposed district

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

The Tobin Center is one of the buildings on the National Register that would be included in this proposed district
The Tobin Center is one of the buildings on the National Register that would be included in this proposed district

According to city officials, there are many benefits to listing with the National Register of Historic Places, including providing the owner of income-producing property (commercial or rental residential) with a chance to receive investment tax credits for “certified rehabilitation.”  Such a listing can also provide the owner the opportunity to apply for certain grants for restoration/rehabilitation when funding is available.  Being on the National Register of Historic Places neither restricts the sale of private property, nor mandates continued maintenance of said property, among other things.  The federal program is open to income producing properties, businesses and companies. The 20 percent federal tax credit program comes back to the property developer as federal tax credit.  The state program is open to income producing, businesses, companies and non-profits. To be eligible to apply for a state tax credit, there is a $5,000 project minimum. The 25 percent Texas state tax credit comes back as a franchise tax credit.

For more information, visit www.sanantonio.gov/historic or call (210) 207-1496.

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