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A renovation project in Springville called Art’s Cafe has been utilizing some unusual financing, providing community members and businesses the opportunity to support the project and receive tax credits in return for their investment.
Now with a loan from The Preservation League of New York State, the tax credit program has gotten even easier to participate in.
Art’s Cafe acquired a collapsed historic Main Street building and is transforming it into a small performance space, art workshop, two artist residencies and a public green roof centered around a bakery-cafe.
Spearheaded by the nonprofit Springville Center for the Arts, Art’s Cafe will expand art and educational opportunities in the area with a variety of new programs and the mission of the cafe is to build community through food and art.
The Preservation League of NYS is New York’s only statewide nonprofit focused on investing in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. Since 1974, their programming, grantmaking and advocacy work have touched every corner of New York state.
“The Preservation League of NYS is proud to support Art’s Cafe through our Endangered Properties Intervention Program,” said Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo. “This loan will help leverage other funds the group has raised to ensure that the building can be transformed into a vital community asset. Their use of historic tax credits to both fund the project and engage supporters is a great example of how those credits can benefit rural communities and the historic properties that anchor them.”
Historic buildings undergoing major renovations that are in a National Register of Historic Places District, like Springville’s Main Street, are eligible for both state and federal tax credits. Unlike deductions, credits work like prepayment of taxes.
“The option of keeping my own tax dollars in the local community brings me a great deal of satisfaction,” said Andrea Domst, a trained tax preparer for senior citizens and tax credit investor with Art’s Cafe.
The tax credit program is a way for people to contribute $5,000 to a local project in a way that benefits them financially. Investors receive more credits than they invest in cash, meaning they will pay less tax overall by participating.
At the same time, Art’s Cafe gets the financial support it needs for construction. The program is appropriate for people who pay at least $2,964 in federal tax and even works for those who have no state tax liability.
Mike Cheman recently became a tax credit investor and said, “Doing the tax credit program just made sense. Mathematically you’re getting more back than you are putting in. You’re going to write a check one way or another. Why not let that money stay local?”
While historic tax credits are utilized every day by developers and larger corporations, it is unusual to see them used with investors on a smaller scale project.
“The Historic Tax Credit has helped support substantial growth across New York state,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, long involved in preservation efforts and tax credit programs. “Historic tax credits allow property owners to rehabilitate historic structures that enhance communities of all sizes. The Historic Tax Credit will help the Art’s Cafe project preserve a building that would otherwise be demolished, and help preserve our history for future generations. Be it in large cities or on small-town main streets, this program works to make New York a better place and I’m excited to see this project come to life with the help of the Historic Tax Credit.”
In addition to the tax credit program, the offering includes Class A community-ownership which works similar to a co-op. Under this program, someone who purchases a share at $250 to support the project has voting rights and will receive dividends when the project becomes profitable.
All owners, whether under the tax credit program or Class A, are invited to an appreciation dinner on Sept. 14 at the historic Olmsted Camp in Sardinia.
An open house will also be held Saturday, Sept. 28 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. for anyone interested in seeing the progress and learning more about the project. A video and literature on the program can be viewed at DPO.ArtsCafeSpringville.com.
For more information contact the Art’s Cafe team at artscafespringville@gmail.com or call 592-9036.