Danville leaders concerned about future of federal historic tax credit program

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Leaders in Danville are worried the revitalization progress of some buildings could be halted because of the proposed federal tax reform plan.

It includes getting rid of those historic tax credits.

City council has adopted a resolution urging President Donald Trump and Congress to keep the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program, which encourages the redevelopment of historic and abandoned buildings. They plan to take the resolution to elected officials that serve this area.

"It costs more to renovate a historic property than it does to build something new," says business leader, Steve DelGiorno.

Since 2005, 20 properties in Danville have been restored thanks to the historic tax credit program, including the new Spectrum Medical Building, and Pemberton Lofts.

Business leaders say the city needs the tax credits to keep moving forward.

"We still have building stock that needs to be restored, that's being planned to be restored with the tax credits. I fear it will stop without them," says DelGiorno.

Take the White Mill for example, the 650,000 square foot building will continue to sit vacant without federal help.

"If we want to maintain the historic character of that building, and help people reimagine what it was like and use it in a new way, it's going to take historic tax credits to make that project work," says Danville City Manager, Ken Larking.

Larking says he doesn't understand why getting rid of the tax credits is even a discussion.

"For every dollar that's spent by the federal government on the tax credit program, they have received a dollar and 18 cents of revenue back to the treasury, so it makes sense on all levels, really, for this to happen," he says.

The 20 properties that have received credits have channeled $93.5 million of private investment. There are 17 new businesses, seven business expansions and 443 new residential units thanks to the tax credits.

City officials say Danville needs these tax credits.