Incentives Watch: Wrigley Receives Rehabilitation Credits While Incentives Sunset in the Tar Heel State

After so many years of frustration, the Chicago Cubs have something to look forward to other than the signing of star pitcher Jon Lester: federal historic rehabilitation tax credits for Wrigley Field. The Cubs had to alter their Wrigley Field renovation plans in order to land a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a prerequisite to obtaining federal historic rehabilitation credits. The revised plan includes six outfield signs, instead of seven, and the reduction in size of one of the outfield video boards. The historic ivy-covered walls, however, will remain unchanged.

The federal historic rehabilitation tax credit is administered by the National Park Service and is equal to 20 percent of qualified rehabilitation expenses. The rehabilitation plan needs to be approved and must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for rehabilitation. Failure to adhere to these standards carries consequences: Soldier Field in Chicago was stripped of its historic landmark designation in 2006 due to extensive renovations.

Last year, Wrigley Field was also awarded a Class L property tax break from Cook County and the City of Chicago. The Class L incentive is available in Cook County for landmark commercial, industrial not-for-profit and multi-family residential buildings that are undergoing historic rehabilitation. The incentive reduces the assessment value of the property for 12 years following the completion of the rehabilitation.

On the other side of the coin, historic properties in North Carolina will no longer be eligible for a state tax credit in 2015. The credit, which was scheduled to sunset at the end of this year, was not extended by the legislature. This has led to concern over whether the expiration of the credit will have larger repercussions on North Carolina’s economy.

There’s always the possibility that the historic rehabilitation credits will come back in North Carolina. After all, these kinds of credits enjoy bipartisan support in many states due to the fact that they save old buildings as well as spur economic development. Gov. Pat McCory has even assembled a coalition to explored getting the credits restored.

States seem to be increasingly favorable towards historic rehabilitation credits. Kentucky expanded its historic preservation credit in April and Texas has a new historic preservation credit that goes into effect in January. And historic rehabilitation credits do not stay repealed for long. As noted earlier this year, Wisconsin temporarily suspended its historic rehabilitation credits but had to restore them due to public outcry.

Continue the discussion on LinkedIn:  Should North Carolina’s historic rehabilitation tax credits be restored?

For more information about Illinois and North Carolina’s tax incentives, check out Bloomberg BNA’s Credits and Incentives Portfolios by signing up for a free trial of the Bloomberg BNA Premier State Tax Library today.

By:  Rishi Agrawal

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