Rehabbing history

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The little-known federal historic tax credit has made a big imprint across our state, and now, it is in danger.

Between 2001 and 2011, this tax incentive has helped transform 63 formerly vacant or underutilized historic buildings in Utah, totaling nearly $200 million in project costs, at a cost of only $31.5 million to federal taxpayers.

Without it, historic rehabilitation projects that preserve Utah's history while creating good-paying, skilled jobs would simply not happen. It is hard to imagine downtown Salt Lake without the Fuller Paint Warehouse (now the Big-D headquarters), or the First Security Bank Building (now the Ken Garff building), or the Scowcroft Warehouse in Ogden (now the IRS Building, Phase 2).

Without the tax credit to make the higher costs of historic rehabilitation feasible, these places could easily be rubble.

Now, congressional tax reform debates will bring a critical eye to all federal tax incentives. Please ask Utah's delegation, particularly Sen. Orrin Hatch, to stand up for the federal historic tax credit. This program helps preserve our heritage, creates jobs, attracts investment and turns the places we live into places we love.

Rob White Trustee, National Trust Community Investment Corporation

Salt Lake City