As the calendar flips to another Fiscal Year, I want to take a few minutes to review the first year of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit and present the first 15 projects to receive historic tax credits in Pennsylvania.

Many people in the preservation and economic development community believed that a historic tax credit program in Pennsylvania was an unattainable dream until Pennsylvania became the 30th state in the country to offer a state historic tax credit on July 2, 2012.  As marathon-like efforts to establish this economic development tool began in 1996 under former State representative Tom Tangretti, D-Northampton and was finished by Senator Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster and Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, a single year to implement the program guidelines and application process seemed like a 100-yard dash!

On May 1, 2014, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) received 34 applications for the inaugural application round of the program.  The applications were reviewed by PHMC staff to ensure that applicants owned qualified historic buildings and that proposed rehabilitation plans met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.  As the qualified applications far exceed the limited $3 million in available credits, DCED used a fair and balanced selection process based on a first -come, first serve basis with regional distribution to select the first round of projects.

To understand the potential economic impact of these 34 proposed projects, here is a general overview of the first round of applications:

  • The applicants requested a total of $13,533,697 in tax credits for projects with the 34 projects representing an estimated $489,087,402 of construction expenditures of which will generate local and state taxes through payroll, material purchases, real estate taxes and other revenue streams that would offset the $3 million in state tax credits.
  • There was broad regional distribution as all five regions submitted enough applications to utilize a full $500,000 allocation (10 in SE PA, 4 in NE PA, 8 in Central PA, 9 in SW PA and 3 in NW PA)
  • Ultimately, 15 projects in 10 counties received tax credits with building types ranging from a church, schools, mid-century modern apartment complexes, Masonic hall, tobacco warehouse, shoe factory and central business district commercial buildings

Here is a list of the historic buildings that received the first $3 million in Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Tax Credits arranged by region:

Southeast Region

Historic Building Municipality County Tax Credit Award
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Germantown Philadelphia Philadelphia $250,000
Liberty Title and Trust Company, 101 N. Broad Philadelphia Philadelphia $250,000
Parke Towne Place Apartments Philadelphia Philadelphia $157,974


Northeast Region

Historic Building Municipality County Tax Credit Award
Curtis and Jones Shoe Company, 702 N. 8th St. Reading Berks $250,000
Miner’s Bank Building, 8-18 W. Market Street Wilkes-Barre Luzerne $250,000
North Scranton Jr. High School, 1539 N. Main Scranton Lackawanna $157,974

Central Region

Historic Building Municipality County Tax Credit Award
Keppel Building 323 N. Queen Street Lancaster Lancaster $250,000
Seel Building, 319 Market Street Harrisburg Dauphin $178,177
Casanave Building, 1211-15 11th Street Altoona Blair $97,901

Southwest Region 

Historic Building Municipality County Tax Credit Award
Bonn Building, 713 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh Allegheny $250,000
Masonic Hall, 32-44 W. North Avenue Pittsburgh Allegheny $250,000
Connelly School, 1435 Bedford Avenue Pittsburgh Allegheny $157,974


Northwest Region 

Historic Building Municipality County Tax Credit Award
CF Adams Building, 101 E. 6th Street Erie Erie $369,015
306 Second Avenue/209 Liberty Street Warren Warren $117,000
Dickson Tavern, 201 French Street Erie Erie $13,895