Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Property owners miffed by Hurst decision on historic register bid

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 11:18 AM

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In March, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst nominated three public housing towers to the National Register of Historic Places so that Little Rock's housing authority would be eligible to receive millions of dollars in state and federal tax credits for the tower's renovations. As Arkansas Business reports, downtown Sharon Welch-Blair and Jill Judy, who rent out residential property downtown, are unhappy that the nomination could soak up most of the available tax credits for historic renovations.

Hurst nominated the properties directly after the State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program voted 4-2 in December not to recommend the buildings for nomination. They buildings — the Fred W. Parris, Cumberland and the Jesse Powell towers — are not yet 50 years old, the usual minimum for properties to be nominated. When Hurst's action was questioned at the review board meeting earlier in April, she responded by reading the nomination regulations that allow her to make a direct nomination to the National Park Service. The AHPP staff had also recommended against nomination.

The state has a $4 million annual cap on allowable tax credits; the towers could be eligible for $1.2 million in annual credits, AB reports.

The Metropolitan Housing Alliance announced last June that it planned to invest $39 million in renovations of the properties. The Arkansas Business article says that Housing Authority, which will partner with Gorman & Co. Inc. of Wisconsin, now anticipates a $55 million price tag for the renovation of the 546 units in the towers.

Read Gorman's 2016 proposal to the Historic District Commission here.

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