Historic Districts Encourage Revitalization
Currently there are three Historic Districts in Jamestown. They include Downtown Jamestown, Lakeview Avenue, and Forest Heights
Beginning in 2013, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) worked closely with the City to formally nominate the downtown Jamestown commercial district for historic designation.
The New York State (NYS) and Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs can be combined to cover 40% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures for commercial properties.
One of the biggest challenges for Jamestown’s revitalization is the financial burden of renovating historic buildings. Grants and loan programs from the city, state, and foundations are available to help fill financial gaps however developers often need more support to sensitively restore older buildings and carry projects through to completion.
Beginning in 2013, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) worked closely with the City to formally nominate the downtown Jamestown commercial district for historic designation. By November 2014, the district consisted of over 100 downtown properties listed on both the State and National historic registers. The New York State (NYS) and Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs can be combined to cover 40% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures. With the downtown historic district listed, JRC turned its sights to the Jamestown neighborhoods. Adding the designation of historic district to a neighborhood uniquely benefits our community, because unlike most states, NYS makes historic preservation tax credits available to homeowners. Guided by a 1993 city-wide intensive historical survey (Part 1, Part 2) several neighborhoods stood out for possible nomination. At the top of the list was the Lakeview Avenue and Forest Height’s neighborhoods. The Lakeview Avenue Historic District was created in 2015. This fall, the Forest Height’s Historic District will be added as Jamestown’s third Historic District. For homeowners located within a historic district, there is a 20% tax credit available from the NYS for qualified projects.
Over 100 buildings in downtown Jamestown were added to the National Register of Historic Places through the creation of the Downtown Jamestown Historic District in 2014.
The JRC prepared the nomination documents for the district and now works closely with property owners and prospective investors to realize the benefits of listing a building on the National Register. These benefits include:
20% federal income tax credit for the substantial rehabilitation of historic, income producing properties
20% state income tax credit to be used in tandem with federal tax credits
These federal and state tax credit programs have played a significant role in making renovation projects happen in historic downtowns across the country by making the projects financially feasible. For more information on districts and resources available to owners of historic properties, visit New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Properties who have used these tax credits can be found here.
Here are some other useful references:
Downtown Historic District
For the Downtown Jamestown Historic District securing the historical designation means most property owners can tap into historic preservation tax credits, one of the most lucrative and effective subsidies of recent years. The current federal and NYS tax credit programs have enabled much of the recent revitalization work in Buffalo and other parts of the state. Giving downtown Jamestown property owners access to this subsidy significantly increases the chances of renovation downtown, improves the quality of the downtown environment, and increases the inventory of available space. Over time, this stimulates demand, which brings new investments, rising rents, higher property values, a more stable financial picture for building owners, and a stronger tax base for the city. The Gokey, Key Bank and the Wellman Buildings, along with the Covenant Manor Apartments, are examples of those that have been able to take advantage of these tax credits.
To view a list of properties in this district, click here.
For more information, pictures, the application, and other details for this district please visit the SHPO CRIS website (https://cris.parks.ny.gov/) and search for National Register Number 14NR06553
The Lakeview Historic District is the first residential neighborhood in Jamestown to have been nominated. JRC worked with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to define the boundaries of the Lakeview district to be as broad as possible to encompass 200 property owners making them eligible for the tax credits. In just two years, a total of $88,000 has been invested in SHPO-approved improvements to eligible historic properties in this historic district. The property owners report that the SHPO staff was kind, understanding and helpful in the tax credit paperwork process.
- 6TH EAST STREET – SOUTH SIDE (EVEN)
- 8TH EAST STREET
- CHESTNUT STREET
- CROSSMAN STREET
- EUCLID AVENUE
- FALCONER STREET
- LAKEVIEW AVENUE – EAST SIDE (EVEN)
- LAKEVIEW AVENUE – WEST SIDE (ODD)
- LAKEVIEW CEMETERY
- LIBERTY STREET
- NEWTON AVENUE
- SPRUCE STREET
- STRONG STREET
- VAN BUREN STREET
- WILSON PLACE
- WINSOR STREET
The Forest Heights Historic District, with over 140 properties, is important to the historic development of Jamestown and contains a distinct mix of buildings in various architectural styles. Some properties in the neighborhood are individually listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, including the former home of Governor Reuben E. Fenton. Architectural styles in Forest Heights include Greek Revival, Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, and other vernacular types of structures.
To view a list of properties in this district, click here.
For more information, pictures, the application, and other details for this district please visit the SHPO CRIS website (https://cris.parks.ny.gov/) and search for National Register Number 20NR00034