Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits Benefit California

What have the Federal Historic Tax Incentives done for California?

Left: Fox Oakland Theatre (Certified 2010); Center: 529 Normal Ave., Chico (Certified 2012); Right: 450 Sutter St., San Francisco (Certified 2011)

Over one and a half billion dollars have been spent in California over the past 10 years on certified historic tax projects (20% Historic Preservation Tax Credits) across the state. The Certified Expenses from the 2007 Federal Fiscal Year through the 2016 Federal Fiscal Year have added up to $1,658,649,374 (total project expenditures are even higher when all other non-eligible costs are added.

Certified Expenses for Federal Fiscal Years 2007 to 2016

 The 121 certified historic preservation tax projects in these years have been located in 20 counties, with the top county double-digit totals beings: Los Angeles (34), Marin (21), San Diego (21), and San Francisco (14). Additional counties include: Alameda with 7 projects; Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties with 4 projects each; Napa, San Luis Obispo, and Solano Counties with 2 projects each; and, Butte, Humboldt, Merced, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties with 1 project each.

 Certified Projects per County for Federal Fiscal Years 2007 to 2016

The top California projects over $40,000,000 during the past 11 years:

2005 Ferry Building, San Francisco $97,700,000
  General Petroleum Building, Los Angeles $44,000,000
2007 Subway Terminal Building, Los Angeles $55,175,744
2009 Ford Assembly Plant, Richmond $54,900,000
  Pacific Electric Building, Los Angeles $52,612,555
  Piers 1-1/2 and 3, San Francisco $47,320,695
  Fort Baker, Sausalito (20 buildings) $40,798,472
2010 Fox Oakland Theatre, Oakland $79,500,000
2011 Presidio Public Health Service Hospital, San Francisco $75,034,443
2013 Central YMCA, San Francisco $57,000,000
  Pier 15, San Francisco $180,170,000
2014 The Forum, Inglewood $78,723,091
2015 Lincoln Place, Venice $128,200,000

Just as important are the smaller projects (in terms of certified expenses during the past 12 years) under $400,000:

2004 429 Normal Avenue, Chico  $160,000
2006 429 W. Third Street, Chico  $69,474
2008 640 West 8th Street, Long Beach  $84,804
  Ah Louis Store, San Luis Obispo  $262,683
2010 CDW Historic Lawn Way Beach House, Capitola  $233,232
2012 529 Normal Avenue, Chico  $298,543
2014 Mom and Pops Saloon, San Juan Bautista  $126,000
2015 Thompson House, Richmond  $350,000

The federal historic tax credits continue to stimulate their local communities and economies and enrich our lives in significant ways. They create jobs and are good for neighborhoods, the local economy, and the environment.

In California, the Mills Act can be linked with the 20% historic preservation investment tax credit provided by the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program and the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Federal affordable housing tax credits may also be utilized with these incentives to offset rehabilitation costs. Over a half billion dollars of private investment in California’s historic buildings is due in a large part to this program. Preservation tax incentives used on under-utilized or abandoned hotels, offices, stores, schools, warehouses, and factories give new uses that maintain their historic character and revitalize the property.

Annual Reports of all certified tax projects in California since 2019 are available at OHP's Certified California Tax Incentive Projects web page. For information on tax credit projects before then, contact the rchitectural Review unit.