City of Peoria urges Illinois General Assembly to Extend State Historic Tax Credits

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4/14/16 Peoria – City officials today urged the Illinois General Assembly to support and pass House Bill 3566, a bill that would extend Illinois’ state historic tax credit program.  The pilot program was launched in five cities, including Peoria, in 2012 as a way to drive investment in Illinois downtowns and preserve historic properties.  The program offers a 25% state tax credit for qualified expenses associated with the redevelopment of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Under the current legislation, all expenses must be incurred by the end of 2016 in order to qualify for the credits. 

The state historic tax credit program has been the cornerstone of our redevelopment efforts in downtown and the Warehouse District,” said Mayor Jim Ardis.  “These buildings have an amazing past and an even brighter future, but the cost of redevelopment is high.  This program helps to even the playing field with more traditional ‘greenfield’ development.  As a pilot program, it has already demonstrated its worth but the quickly approaching sunset has slowed interest in some of Peoria’s bigger opportunities such as the Madison Theater.”

The current program is an expanded version of an earlier effort that helped renovate the historic Pere Marquette Hotel in downtown Peoria.  That project was awarded $10 million in state tax credits as part of a $100 million budget.  The state’s investment not only employed hundreds of construction workers during the renovation, but will also pay for itself in less than 8½ years – each year the hotel contributes nearly $1.2 million in revenue to the state through payroll taxes, sales taxes and other fees.

House Bill 3566 was introduced in 2015 by Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth but did not receive a final vote. It extends the State Historic Tax Credit for another five years through 2022.

Without an extension,” stated 1st District Councilwoman Denise Moore, “I fear that these wonderful structures will continue to sit idle and empty, or worse, face the wrecking ball.  The threat is real, for everything from the historic Madison Theater to the former whiskey buildings of the Warehouse District. Investors are ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in Illinois, putting the men and women of our trades to work and transforming our downtown.”

Added Ardis, “We need the Illinois General Assembly to pass House Bill 3566.  Led by Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, we have had excellent support from our local legislators.  Now we need others to see how important these buildings – and our downtowns – are and help us save them.”