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Rehab a building downtown and reap rewards

Currently there are four incentives that may be available to a property owner planning to rehabilitate a building within downtown Vicksburg.  These incentives are the Main Street Program Façade Grant, the city of Vicksburg Tax Abatement, State of Mississippi Historic Preservation Tax Credit, and the Federal Historic Investment Tax Credit.

4The Main Street Program’s Façade Grant Program provides a grant of up to a third of the cost of rehabbing a building’s façade, with the grant not to exceed $1,000. Application must be made prior to beginning work and requires a $50 application fee. Forms are available from the Main Street office in the City Hall Annex. Property owners must submit an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to the secretary of the Board of Architectural Review prior to work.

Once work is finished, the property owner must complete a form that delineates the costs incurred and submit it to the Main Street office. The Main Street director will request that the secretary of the Board of Architectural Review check the completed work for compliance with the approved COA and then the grant request will be made to the Main Street Board of Directors. For more information about this program, please call the Vicksburg Main Street Office at 601.634.4527.

4The City of Vicksburg Tax Abatement program provides a three- to seven-year abatement of the increase in taxes levied when a building is substantially rehabilitated (excluding the amount levied for school taxes). Eligible buildings are those lying within the central business district or the Historic Vicksburg District, or are designated as Vicksburg Landmarks. The rehabilitation must be for the promotion of business or historic preservation. Property owners must submit an application prior to beginning work to the Community Planning Department of the City of Vicksburg, 819 South Street. Projects with a minimum investment of $50,000 are eligible for a three-year abatement. Projects of $100,000 are eligible for a five-year abatement, and if the investment is $150,000, then the abatement is for seven years. For more information and for an application form and instructions, please call Paula Wright in the Community Planning Department at 601.634.4526 or visit her office at 819 South St.

4The Mississippi Historic Tax Credit is available for properties that are listed in the National Register, either individually or as a contributing building within a National Register district. The credit is 25 percent of eligible rehab costs and can be taken over a 10-year period. A project’s rehabilitation expenditures must exceed $5,000 or 50 percent of the total basis of the building. The basis is the purchase price, less the cost of land, plus improvements already made, minus depreciation already taken. Allowable expenditures include the work undertaken on structural components such as walls, roofs, windows, floors — as well as central air conditioning and heating systems, plumbing and plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring and lighting fixtures, and components related to the operation or maintenance of the building. Architectural and engineering fees, site survey fees, and other construction-related costs are also allowable. All work must be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Standards. Application must be made prior to beginning any work.

4The Federal Historic Investment Tax Credit is available for income-producing properties that are listed in the National Register, either individually or as a contributing building within a National Register district. The credit is 20 percent of eligible rehab costs and can be taken in one year prior and forward over a 20-year period.  A project’s rehabilitation expenditures must exceed the greater of $5,000 or the adjusted cost basis which is the purchase price, less the cost of land, plus improvements already made, minus depreciation already taken. Allowable expenditures include work undertaken on structural components such as walls, roofs, windows, floors — as well as central air conditioning and heating systems, plumbing and plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring and lighting fixtures, elevators, and other components related to the operation or maintenance of the building. Architectural and engineering fees, site survey fees, development fees, and other construction-related costs are also allowable. All work must be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Standards. Application and subsequent approval must be made prior to beginning any work. For more information about the Federal Tax Credit and the Mississippi Historic Tax Credit, please call Nancy Bell at the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation at 601-636-5010.

4One of the services of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation is to complete applications for each of these incentives, as well as, to complete applications nominating a property to the National Register of Historic Places, thereby making a historic building eligible for the state and federal tax credits.

For more information about these services and a fee schedule or to see if a building is listed in the National Register, please contact Nancy Bell at 601-636-5010 or email her at vburgfoundation@aol.com.
Nancy Bell is executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.