Aging, Vacant and Underutilized "Dinosaur" Buildings Get New Life
The Northwest Indiana Forum (Forum) is pleased to announce the passage of House Enrolled Act 1005 enhancing the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit (commonly known as the “Dinosaur Building” incentive). The legislation now applies to more than 250 additional facilities throughout the state requiring significant rehabilitation or remodeling, offering more opportunities to draw companies to existing, underutilized industrial properties.
The Forum and local economic development organizations were instrumental in bringing the much needed changes to the attention of legislators. Representatives Ed Clere, Brian Bosma, David Cheatham, David Yarde II and Senators Ed Charbonneau, Brandt Hershman, Ron Grooms and Jim Arnold shepherded the bill to unanimous votes in both the House and Senate which Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law yesterday (May 9, 2010).
Specifically, the minimum size of eligible buildings went from 250,000 to 50,000 square feet; the age of the building from 20 to 15 years old; the vacancy rate from 75% to 50% vacant for at minimum one year; and is retroactive to January 1, 2011 with a sunset at the end of 2013. Once a municipality/county applies for and is designated as an industrial recovery site by the state, companies investing in these buildings may be eligible for a tax credit based on a percentage of the qualified rehabilitation expense.
“It was imperative to lower the threshold for these types of buildings,” said Charles Weaver, Executive Director of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation and Forum Economic Development Chair. “An aged, vacant building made marketable and attractive results in significant benefits – the creation of jobs, property tax, income tax, sales tax, and perhaps most importantly, putting back into service what otherwise will continue to deteriorate and rot, until finally it has no utility at all.”
The legislation offers a great opportunity to reintroduce industrial buildings to market and invite investment to revitalize the urban core and utilize existing structures in the surrounding communities and rural areas. “Though the expanded credit could benefit communities in multiple ways, the primary goal is to attract capital investment and create high-paying quality jobs for Northwest Indiana residents.” said Mark Maassel, President and CEO of the Forum.