Since the start of Maine’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit in 2008, $135 million has been privately invested by developers rehabbing historic commercial buildings in the state of Maine . This $135 million comes in the middle of a recession and while new construction is at a virtual standstill. The study showed that the preservation rehab projects produced 2,700 jobs in Maine while unemployment in the building industry stands above 14%. Maine’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which is responsible for spurring this construction activity, is scheduled to sunset in 2013. The Legislature’s Committee on Taxation is currently considering recommending the removal of the sunset clause.
“Quietly, consistently and effectively, for the past 30 years, historic preservation has become the leading catalyst in the revival of communities throughout the state and the nation. This study proves that preservation is working here in Maine,” said Greg Paxton, Executive Director of Maine Preservation. “The rehab of these vacant mills, former schools, and re-purposed churches is a big boost for towns and the neighborhoods around them.”
Projects have occurred in larger cities such as Portland, Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn and Saco-Biddeford and also in smaller communities such as North Berwick, Farmington and Hallowell. Projects have occurred in areas with stronger real estate markets and in areas where there was barely a market at all. This is why preservation is such a successful revitalization strategy. It can occur in any community and it frequently stimulates other preservation investment around it.