It was the last bill to meet the Governor’s pen on Decision Day but the historic income tax credit bill is now law and has one Savannah representative excited.
Millions of dollars in tax credits can now go towards restoring some of the largest historical properties in the state of Georgia.
“All this bill is trying to do is bring the developers to ground zero so that the significant cost of renovating these projects, getting an investor to come to the table and put the kind of money it’s going to take and capital to get this where it needs to be,” says local state representative Ron Stephens who sponsored and wrote the bill.
Locally, historic groups see only growth of big projects coming to Savannah with this new law.
“Now we’re gonna have a mechanism to entice, incentivize investors, property owners, buyers to get involved in this get developers engaged in preservation,” says Historic Savannah Foundation President Daniel Carey who’s non profit helped lobby heavily for the bill.
The governor signed the bill into law Tuesday. It removes the old 300,000 dollar tax credit cap for individual historic structure restorations to upwards of 5 to 10 million dollars or a quarter of the aggregate renovation costs.
These caps Carey says move the state in a right direction to compete with neighboring states in the South.
“We were losing business and we were losing revenue, we were losing preservation projects to those surrounding states so now we have a competitive advantage,” Carey says.
In the case of Savannah, it can have a huge impact on the restoration and development of the more than 200 million dollar hotel project slated for the West River Street Georgia Power Plant. Now the Kessler Collection restoring the space could see close to 25 million dollars in aggregate credits over a year for the development.
“It’s gonna be an economic explosion for that end of River street and it’ll change the face of River Street.”
Even though it’s a huge jump in tax credits, both Carey and Stephens say taxpayers will only see benefits.
“What it does for taxpayers in all of these cities is it brings them up, ” Stephens says, “I’ve heard nothing of the negative from the taxpayers saying they don’t want to do this and I can’t imagine why they would because it creates jobs.”
The west River Street plant project is projected to bring in more than 700 jobs to the downtown Savannah area and could cost 100 million dollars in initial restoration costs.