Home » Real Estate Trend: Revitalizing Historic Buildings into Affordable Housing

Real Estate Trend: Revitalizing Historic Buildings into Affordable Housing

Purchasing and revitalizing historic buildings is a true joy, especially when the revitalization project results in affordable housing for communities in need. Here, you can learn more about how converting historic buildings into affordable housing benefits everyone involved. 

From Run-Down to Beautiful

Back in 1849, a Rhode Island architect designed and built the Cannelton Cotton Mill in the tiny town of Cannelton, Indiana. It was a working mill for decades until it closed in 1954, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Unfortunately, as the years passed, the building began to deteriorate until it became more of an eyesore for the community than a bragging point. In 1998, the community rallied to preserve and restore the landmark, and over the course of three years, they converted this 150-year-old mill into 70 affordable apartments. Though this was a government undertaking, private investors and their companies also have options available to them. 

Learning about Historic Building Revitalization

Both federal and state governments offer grants for individuals who work to revitalize historic buildings, and each grant has its own unique set of requirements. These grants are provided through State Historic Preservation Offices across the nation. Essentially, once an investor (or company) purchases the historic building, he or she can apply for grants designed to preserve that property. Additional grants and funding may be available to those who plan to convert the property into housing. Finally, you can even receive tax incentives if you preserve historic properties as part of your investments. 

How Revitalization Benefits the Community

Historic buildings in small towns across the country are in danger of being torn down. Small cities simply lack the budget to buy up the properties within their jurisdictions and revitalize them, so in many cases, it’s up to individual investors or their companies to take on the task. Sometimes, repairing and preserving such buildings can help create a market for tourism, which improves the communities’ revenue. In other cases, older properties may be eyesores or even dangerous, and revitalizing them can make the community look nicer and feel safer. 

The Need for Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is hard to find in today’s day and age, especially with the pandemic looming and the uncertainty of the economy. Almost every city in the nation can benefit from accessible, affordable apartments, and that’s why so many investors focus on converting historic buildings like the massive Cannelton Cotton Mill into apartments. The addition of dozens of homes can thwart homelessness, improve poverty, and provide children with better, safer living arrangements. 

If you’re curious about buying historic buildings, you can search the National Register of Historic Places to learn more. Though not all of these properties are up for sale, some may be – especially if you have a well-thought plan for converting them into affordable housing for the local community. You can also learn more about the grants and tax incentives available to you based on your location as well as the location of the property.

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