One of Syracuse’s most famous rehabilitation projects could be under threat if Congress repeals a tax credit that’s helped 14 sites in the community come back to life, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Hotel Syracuse, just claimed by developer Ed Riley earlier this summer, is relying on the federal historic tax credit for a possible $6 million for his project. After closing in 2004, the 90-year-old site is in need of major attention – which means major money.
The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program could bring in some of that cash.
The program has been supporting historic preservation efforts since 1976. It’s helped over 39,600 historic sites and would give Riley up to a 20 percent credit on the $57 million renovation to his structure, according to the National Park Service.
The Hotel Syracuse, which was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, would join a larger list of Syracuse properties that have used the credit towards preservation efforts over the last few years including the Loew’s Landmark Building, the Niagara Hudson Building, the Kirk Hotel on West Fayette Street and the Pike Block.
Michigan’s Republican Representative Dave Camp, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a draft in February that could repeal the credit that would help save the historic hotel.
In a press conference last week, the Preservation League of New York State called on Congress to enhance the credit, instead of repeal it. The League asked Congress to provide a 30 percent tax credit for all projects costing less than $5 million.
U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt attended this call-to-action at the Hotel Syracuse. He said Camp’s legislation probably wouldn’t pass this year, but it could be a problem next year as the government tries to reduce federal spending.
As one of the most successful and cost-effective federal programs in the country, this loss could be a tremendous blow to all preservation efforts in New York and beyond.
The Hotel Syracuse and many other properties in our community are in danger.
Keeping the tax credit means rehabilitating buildings for reuse and creating more jobs for Syracuse and other communities. Last year, an average of 78 jobs were created per rehabilitation project, according to the NPS annual report.
Why get rid of a healthy, well-functioning program that’s been helping rebuild American communities for almost 40 years?
Saving Hotel Syracuse and saving the federal historic tax credit go hand in hand. With another major downtown structure back on the tax roll, everyone will benefit.