Historic preservation is good business for Atlanta's neighborhoods and Georgia's cities and towns. $1 million spent rehabilitating a historic building ultimately adds $2.3 million to Georgia's economy — creating 39 jobs (more than equivalent new construction) and adding $819,000 to the household incomes of Georgia residents.**
Historic buildings support Georgia's sustainable economic growth. While recruitment incentives strongly influence corporate relocation, ultimately companies stay because of the incentives the quality of life of a community provides. Historic buildings are an important element of that criteria because they provide a sense of ownership, a sense of evolution — that sense of community company employees enjoy.**
Historic preservation promotes heritage tourism, the fastest growing segment of America's fastest growing major industry. Historic sites rank high in every survey of tourist preferences and heritage tourism travelers spend more money and stay longer than the average U.S. traveler. In 1996, Georgia's tourists spent over $453 million on historic-related leisure activities.
Historic preservation makes cents. Federal tax credits for certain expenses incurred in connection with the rehabilitation of an old building are available to owners and some long-term renters of income-producing properties — 20 percent for a historic building and 10 percent for a non-historic building. Georgia law provides an owner of an historic property which has undergone substantial rehabilitation an eight-year freeze on property tax assessments. In 1997, Georgia led the nation in the number of rehabilitation tax credit projects, with 155 projects representing over $96 million. Together, state and federal tax incentives have resulted in over$.5 billion in private investment in Georgia's historic properties since 1981.
Preservation through rehabilitation is less expensive on average than new construction. The more historic fabric saved, the less hauled off to landfills and the less expensive the rehabilitation. This little known fact is irrefutably documented in US and Georgia state tax credits.
Georgia has 45 National Historic Landmarks and 1625 National Register Listings with over 40,000 properties located in historic districts.
The number of historic commissions in Georgia has grown from seven in 1980 to a total of 81 in 1997. Twelve of these are located in the Metro-Atlanta area.
** Donovan D. Rypkema, a principal of Real Estate Services Group; "The Economics of Historic Preservation, 1996 Georgia Historic Preservation Conference