Parkersburg, WV, is working hard to remove severely blighted buildings throughout the City in a partnership with the WV Housing Development Fund.
West Virginia’s historic rehabilitation tax credit was put in place to encourage developers and property owners to take some of the state’s crumbling, historic structures and get them back into working order. The credit is also supposed to encourage the creation of local jobs while repurposing the underutilized buildings.
But the state’s tax credit is 10 percent, and a coalition of architects, economic developers, and others say that’s not enough to encourage the community development they’d like to see. That same group is now traveling the state looking for support as they prepare to ask state lawmakers to increase the tax credit.
That foreclosed house on your street with the chipped paint and boarded-up windows — it’s ugly, sure, but how much does it cost? The answer is surprisingly complex, drawing from municipal budgets as well as the private market, and it’s the topic of a new report led by urban economist Aaron Klein. Bottom line: The vacant house next door is a financial burden on its neighbors, whose housing values drop as it stays unoccupied, and often on the coffers of local police and fire departments as well.
Brownfields Project Marketplace
What is the Marketplace? The Marketplace is FREE brownfields financing technical assistance. The Marketplace was created with an understanding that it’s often difficult to bring the public- and private- sectors together in the same place, and harder still to have each engage in an open discussion about brownfield projects. The Marketplace is an open forum that connects communities looking to finance brownfield redevelopment projects with development financiers and brownfield project experts. Through the Marketplace, communities can engage in open discussion with experts, get answers to their financing questions, and come away with a better understanding of the resources available for their redevelopment projects.
While the Vandalia Heritage Foundation was first formed in 1998, the organization remains as passionate as ever in its attempts to revitalize buildings in the area.
Having this organization, which primarily focuses on northern West Virginia, gives individuals and communities interested in preserving their historic buildings and cultural heritage some recourse, said Laura Kuhns, president and chief executive officer.
“Vandalia was about taking a proactive approach to acquiring and preserving historic properties in northern West Virginia, some of which were mothballed for future redevelopment,” Kuhns said. “Others have taken years, and some are still in the works.”
Helping historic buildings and districts adapt to the modern age is important for many reasons, said Brooks McCabe, a commercial real estate developer who works closely with the Vandalia Heritage Foundation. Read more here!
Shell faced questions this week at local and state hearings over the new petrochemical plant it plans to build northwest of Pittsburgh. Local officials asked the company about air and water pollution from the plant—as well as how noise, light and traffic will impact the surrounding communities.
Some nearby residents are concerned about how all these issues will impact their property values. But for commercial real estate in the region, one expert says Shell is bringing, if not a tidal wave, at least a “rising tide” of development. Dan Adamski, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate firm that represented Shell in purchasing the Beaver County site along the Ohio River, says the company chose this spot for a simple reason. “[It’s] primarily because of what’s underneath us—the Marcellus Shale. They like the location on the Ohio River.” Read more here!
A photographer who has spent more than half his life obsessively documenting American cities is creating an expansive and eye-opening record of how poor, segregated neighborhoods have transformed over time. Camilo Jose Vergara, 71, has systematically photographed the same set of intersections in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities over and over again since 1977. He continues to work on the “Tracking Time” series, and his forthcoming book Detroit Is No Dry Bones will be published later this year. Read more here!
“The White House,” by Ryan Mendoza, was on view at the Art Rotterdam festival in the Netherlands in February. Mendoza removed the facade of an abandoned house in Detroit for his installation, prompting criticism about how it affected the neighborhood it came from.
The Monday demolition of a blighted Detroit home made famous in an art installation thousands of miles away raises questions about the relationship between artists and the communities that inspire their work.
Ryan Mendoza, an American-born artist living in Europe, used the house on Stoepel Street as the raw material for “The White House” at the Art Rotterdam festival last month. He first visited Detroit last year, removed the facade of the house, which was purchased and donated by a local friend, and shipped it overseas. In the Netherlands city, he reconstructed the shell and painted it white. He played Motown hits and projected family snapshots and video taken during his trip to evoke the house’s history. Read More here!
It may soon be more expensive — and more difficult — for a property owner to slowly sit on vacant or blighted property in the District. The D.C. Council will take a final vote Nov. 15 on the Vacant Property Enforcement Act of 2016, which was unanimously approved in its first pass by the council on Nov. 1. The legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Elissa Silverman , I-At large, and co-introduced by nine colleagues, would reduce the maximum amount of time a vacant property can qualify for an exemption from higher vacancy tax rates, close a loophole that allows continuous renewal of construction permits to qualify for tax exemptions and require owners of vacant properties to prove they are no longer subject to the higher tax rates. Read more here!
Effective October 31, any one or two-family home that was built in 1916 or earlier or is a designated historic resource cannot be demolished by the typical bulldozer process, but must be manually deconstructed and salvaged.
In response to the demolition epidemic sweeping across Portland, the City convened a Deconstruction Advisory Group (DAG) to recommend a new policy for managed deconstruction. The goal was to create an incentive to reuse materials from historic homes and reduce the environmental impact of the tons of waste entering the landfill. Restore Oregon participated in DAG and played a leading role in the development of the new deconstruction policy. Read more here!