History Nebraska Blog

Historic Tax Credit Programs

May was Historic Preservation Month and we celebrated by looking at some before and after pictures of properties that took advantage of Historic Tax Credit Programs. Historic Tax Credit Programs are some of the most impactful tools Nebraskans have in promoting the economic revitalization of their communities. These programs provide tax credits for property owners who rehabilitate a historic building while retaining its historic character. Past projects have provided much-needed low-income housing, fixed-up public buildings like courthouses, and made downtown areas more attractive to small business owners. Tax credit programs also stimulate local economies by generating skilled jobs and local tax revenue.

Here are some recent success stories of the Historic Tax Credit Programs!

Vacant and covered in pigeon-poop, the old Hastings Brewery building did not look like it had much of a future. Fortunately, Cohen-Esrey, a real-estate development company, saw the potential to provide much-needed affordable housing to the people of Hastings. Historic tax credits made the project a feasible investment for the group. Tim Quigley of Cohen-Esrey describes this tax-credit project as a “win-win for the community, revitalizing the east side of downtown Hastings. It provided much needed affordable housing while preserving a historic building that was sentimental.” The building is now called the Brewery Lofts. Its attractive combination of modern features and unique historic features has created a waiting list of interested apartment seekers. The rehabilitation received $1.5 million in Federal Historic Tax Credits and $1 million in Nebraska Historic Tax Credits.

All photos by Brenda Spencer of Spencer Preservation

Hastings Brewery Before

Hastings Brewery After

The two story calico sandstone veneered commercial building in downtown Chadron was constructed in 1888 and originally housed a grocery store. Throughout its life, the sandstone deteriorated, the pressed metal cornice and cresting rusted and the original storefront was replaced. The owner of the building was allocated $15,000 in Nebraska Historic Tax Credits and $15,000 in Federal Historic Tax Credit to rehabilitate the façade. The project included restoring the sandstone veneer, rebuilding a storefront compatible to the historic character of the building and repairing the pressed metal cornice and cresting.

All photos by Shelley McCafferty

Weber Building Before

Weber Building After

The three story brick Palace Hotel and the adjacent two story modest frame building in Pender, Nebraska were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Their significance is based upon being the first courthouse in Thurston County. The small frame building and subsequently the larger Palace Hotel functioned as a courthouse between 1889 and 1927. Both buildings appear to hold the state record for “temporary” use as a courthouse.

In 2016, both buildings were allocated a combined $652,000 in Federal Historic Tax Credits and $652,000 in Federal Tax Credits. The exterior of the smaller frame building was rehabilitated based upon historic images while the interior was remodeled to house a single residential unit. The long vacant upper floors of the Palace Hotel were rehabilitated to house 16 residential units. Similar to the smaller frame building, the exterior of the Palace Hotel was rehabilitated based upon historic photographs.

All photos by APMA

Palace Hotel Before

Palace Hotel After

The Florentine was part of a trio of apartments, including the Carpathia and Leone, built circa 1910 by Italian immigrant Vincenso Pietro Chiodo. The buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1910. Largely vacant for over a decade, the apartment was rehabilitated in 2019 to 30 apartments.  The owner utilized Federal and Nebraska Historic Tax Credits totalling over $2 million dollars.

All photos by APMA

Florentine Before

Florentine After

The Hibberd Block was built by Richard Hibberd, a building contractor and the owner of Hibberd Brick Company, Kearney’s largest brickyard. Constructed in 1912, the building serves as a showcase of his quality brick products. As a contributing resource to the Kearney Downtown Historic District, the building owner was able to utilize federal and state historic tax incentives.

The rehabilitation of the commercial bay and the second story on the north side of the Hibberd Block commenced in 2018. The formally voluminous commercial space was severely altered with drop ceilings and split into several rooms. The second story, which contain apartments and business, had been vacant for decades. The owner removed the walls and drop ceilings in the first floor, revealing hardwood floors and an intact press metal ceiling. The second story was rehabilitated to contain three spacious apartments. All of the historic windows, which were still intact but covered with plywood, were retained and repaired. The applicant received over $80,000 separately in both Federal and Nebraska Historic Tax Credits. 

All photos by Anne Bauer

Hibberd Before

Hibberd After

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