Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED) announced that 22 projects across the Commonwealth were awarded a total of $5 million in Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Tax Credits (PA HPTC) through the FY 2022-2023 PA HPTC Allocation.

What are the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Tax Credits?

The PA Historic Preservation Tax Credit program provides tax credits to qualified taxpayers  who will be completing the rehabilitation of a qualified historic structure into an income-producing property.  The program is administered by DCED with assistance from the PA Department of Revenue and PA SHPO,

To be eligible for the state historic preservation tax credit:

  • properties must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or contribute to a listed historic district;
  • applicants must have a rehabilitation plan that is approved by PA SHPO as being consistent with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties; and
  • applicants must be qualified taxpayers, which includes an individual, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or any other form of legal business entity.

In each application round, a maximum of $5 million in tax credits is available for distribution to qualifying projects on a first come, first serve basis, with equitable regional distribution.

Applications are accepted once a year, typically in early October. DCED’s website includes a link to the application.

Brick and glass church in urban setting.

Zion Baptist Church received one of the PA HPTC allocations this year. Photo by Kevin McMahon. Source: Zion Baptist Church and Educational Annex National Register Nomination.

Isn’t there another tax credit program for rehabilitating historic buildings?

Yes! The federal Historic Tax Credit, which is also known as the Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit, allows owners of income-producing properties to take a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on federal income tax for eligible costs related to the rehabilitation of a historic property for a new use. PA SHPO administers the Historic Tax Credit program in partnership with the National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service.

A 20% credit is available. To be eligible for this federal historic tax credit:

  • the property must be individually listed in the National Register, contribute to a National Register historic district, or contribute to a Certified Local District;
  • the property must be used for income-producing purposes;
  • the property must be owned by the same owner and be an income-producing property for five years;
  • the rehabilitation work must follow The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties; and
  • the project must meet the “substantial rehabilitation test” and be completed within 24 months.
Large four story high, 9-bay wide brick building with graffiti.

The International Harvester Company of America, Pittsburgh Branch House before rehabilitation in 2019. The project utilizes federal and state historic tax credits. Photo by Jeff Slack: Source, National Register nomination form.

What project received allocations this year?

In this last round, 31 projects were forwarded to PA SHPO for review with a total request over $12.7 million dollars.  These projects also applied for the federal historic tax credit and  represent over $403 million in estimated rehabilitation expenses.  PA SHPO’s role is to confirm that the building is a historic property and that the proposed work meets the Standards.   Of the 31, we determined that 24 projects were eligible.

Here are the successful applicants:

Project NameCountyTax CreditProject Description
832 Western AvenueAllegheny$75,000Rehab of historic residential property
International Harvester Co: Pittsburgh Branch HouseAllegheny$350,000Rehab of 1902 IH Co Branch House into 38 market rate housing units
Wood Street BuildingAllegheny$450,000Rehab former McCreery & Co Dept Store into 253 market rate housing units and some commercial space
Medical Arts BuildingBerks$400,000Rehab of former medical building into 31 affordable housing units
First National Bank BuildingBlair$25,000Rehab of former bank building to continue use as venue and office building
McCrory's BuildingBlair$175,000Rehab of former dept store into retail space and 8 housing units
321 North Front StreetDauphin$150,000Rehab of office/apt building into 6 market rate housing units
Ridgway Central Public SchoolElk$245,000Rehab of former school into mixed use offices and 17 apartments
Erie Trust Company BuildingErie$500,000Rehab of former office building into hotel
St. Joseph's HospitalLancaster$350,000Rehab of former medical complex into mixed-use with retail spaces and apartments
Bell Telephone Company - Wilkes-Barre Central OfficeLuzerne$250,000Rehab former office building into 12 apartments
Vernon HallPhiladelphia$150,000Rehab of vacant commercial building into retail space and 16 market rate housing units
1904 Mt. Vernon StreetPhiladelphia$75,000Rehab of rowhouse into 5 apartment units
Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital ComplexPhiladelphia$155,000Rehab updates 3 existing medical buildings into medical education and laboratory space
The BatteryPhiladelphia$275,000Rehab of vacant industrial building into mixed-use event facility with offices and 284 market rate housing units
Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate FactoryPhiladelphia$200,000Rehab of existing multi-building industrial property into multi-tenant commercial and light industrial use
Beury BuildingPhiladelphia$275,000Rehab of vacant bank and office building into a hotel
Belfield LoftsPhiladelphia$200,000Rehab of 2 vacant mill buildings into 77 residential units, 8 of which will be affordable housing units
Penn Asylum for Indigent Widows and Single WomenPhiladelphia$150,000Rehab of charitable women’s housing complex into 45 apartments
Rev. Leon H. Sullivan Community Impact CenterPhiladelphia$150,000Rehab of vacant church and educational building into a community center with offices and outreach services
Conrad Bischoff Planning Mill and Furniture FactorySchuylkill$150,000Rehab of factory complex into a bed and breakfast and artist studio space
Edward Fox Baking CompanyYork$250,000Rehab of converted office building into mixed-use commercial and residential space with 43 market rate housing units
Narrow 3-story high, 4-bay wide brick building.

The Bell Telephone building in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County was one of 3 state historic tax credit recipients in NE PA.

Interested in learning more?

There are three easy ways you can learn more about the historic tax credit programs available to rehabilitate historic buildings in Pennsylvania:

  • search our blog using the key word “tax credit,”
  • check out  our website, and
  • get in touch with PA SHPO’s tax credit staff.