Doss’ business, the Dye and Doss Insurance agency, is just south of the former bar. The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides an incentive to leverage the private redevelopment of historic buildings, according to information from the program.
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Renovating the building will eliminate one more vacant property downtown and could potentially draw more business and foot traffic downtown, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership. The CEP is in charge of economic development in Champaign County. City officials also wrote a letter attached to Doss’ application, pointing out the credits would help improve the community.
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“It adds another dynamic to our downtown to get another building renovated and back in use,” Bailey said. “Each time properties are transferred it’s always an opportunity to have a higher value of property in downtown.”
The project would be difficult to complete without the tax credits, Doss said. Major restoration projects are sometimes harder to complete in communities like Urbana because there are fewer investors interested in renting the property, he said.
“In Columbus you’re doing it because you’re going to make money,” Doss said. “In Urbana you’re doing it because you live there. There’s no big profit at the end.”
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The Urbana project was one of 13 communities across Ohio that received awards for rehabbing historic structures, according to the ODSA. In all, the agency awarded almost $35 million in tax credits to rehabilitate a total of 36 buildings across the state.
In Dayton, the state also awarded credits for separate projects to renovate a vacant building at 1500 E. 5th St., and $5 million in tax credits for the Dayton Arcade-Fourth Street project, which includes three buildings.
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The Urbana building needs significant repair, so the tax credits provide important leverage to make needed repairs, Doss said. Doss said some renovations were made in the 1980s, but since then the building has largely gone untouched.
“The cost of these buildings to renovate and bring them up to code is expensive,” Doss said. “We’re not in a big city where they get $14 per square foot for rent. We’re more like $5 so it’s just different. That’s why the tax credit project helps. It gives you the incentive to do it and cuts the cost.”