The Downtown Beckley Business Association will host a tax credit workshop on March 26, the first in a series of economic development programs designed to help downtown property owners prepare for a possible investment by West Virginia University.
Jennifer Brennan, a tax credit coordinator for the State Historic Preservation Office, will advise property owners in the downtown historic district on how best to manage the pursuit of tax credits, which can offset up to 30 percent of the cost of renovations.
Jim Chambers, a property owner and spokesman for the association, said investors in the downtown are increasingly excited about the availability of funding and support for development.
“Property owners are beginning to have a clear vision of the value of being in a historic district, especially in light of the possible investment from WVU,” Chambers said.
“New staircases, elevators, fire escapes — these are the kinds of construction incentives we’ll need to make the best use of our buildings, and the funding is available, thanks to our location in a national historic district.”
Chambers said that only property owners in national historic districts, or those who own nationally historic properties, are eligible for the credit. Ten percent of the credit is managed through the state government; 20 percent is managed through the federal, he said.
The state also offers grants for the restoration, rehabilitation, and repair of historic properties, he said, and the association will soon also present a program on grants.
According to the National Park Service, the tax credits can be used to help cover the cost of the repair or installation of walls, doors, stairs, floors, windows, ceilings, chimneys, escalators, elevators, partitions, plumbing, fire escapes, electrical wiring, sprinkler systems, heating and central air conditioning systems and other components related to the operation and maintenance of properties.
Chambers said an architect will address the meeting of the association on March 9 to help advise property owners on the adaption of their buildings for activities associated with the university.
In an interview earlier this month with the Charleston Gazette, Rob Alsop, WVU’s vice president for legal, government and entrepreneurial engagement, said that the university expected to complete its purchased of the former Mountain State University campus in downtown Beckley this month.
Chambers said the purchase would make WVU one of the largest landowners in the Beckley Courthouse Square National Historic District.
The tax credit meeting has been scheduled for 5 :15 p.m. at theTickity Boo Mercantile at 337 Neville Street. The meeting will be free and open to the public. For more information on the meeting or the association, contact Jim Chambers at 304-573-4332 or David Sibray at 304-575-7390.
For more information on tax incentives for historic properties, visit: http://www.nps.gov/tps/tax-incentives.htm