Historic building inventory assists new development in Milwaukee

Posted in: Cultural Resources


milwaukee-industrial-0111590_h-300x202pxA recent industrial building survey of Milwaukee is an excellent example of how historic preservation can be a catalyst for economic revitalization.

Since the Historic Tax Credit program’s inception in 1982, there has been $526 million reinvested in historic properties in Milwaukee. Many of these projects involve buildings that reflect the city’s industrial past.

A new report released by the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office that was developed by Mead & Hunt works to foster continued reuse of many industrial buildings in Milwaukee. The inventory is a guide to older industrial buildings identified as qualifying for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This is a requirement to be eligible to receive the historic tax credits.

“The purpose of this 2016 survey was to document Milwaukee’s Industrial Heritage as a means to encourage the rehabilitation of historic industrial buildings in the city. These findings help to streamline the tax credit application process by providing comprehensive information about buildings eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and therefore potentially eligible for tax credits.”
– excerpt from Milwaukee Industrial Properties Intensive Survey, October 2016

The report provides an overview of the industrial history of Milwaukee with a description of the building types historically associated with local manufacturing. The recommendations provide a description and analysis of those properties found to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Thirty-three states offer historic tax credits that leverage the use of the federal historic tax credit to promote investment through rehabilitation of historic properties. The incentives program offers a 20 percent income tax credit to help rehabilitate historic properties. It also gives a 10 percent tax credit for non-historic buildings built before 1936 that are rehabilitated for non-residential use.

Frequently, state tax credits are leveraged with the federal credit to provide greater savings. Together these programs spur private investment in older neighborhoods resulting in an average of between $15 and $35 million in expenditures according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Contact me if you are interested in learning how this research could be applied to your community’s development efforts.


Christina Slattery

About the Author

Christina Slattery specializes in historic preservation of transportation and engineering structures. She evaluates the significance of properties ranging from missile defense systems to road corridors, and develops creative mitigation strategies for projects.

Read more posts by Christina Slattery

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