Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Stiefel, Barry

Committee Member

Benedict, Robert

Committee Member

Worzala, Elaine

Committee Member

Howard, Myrick

Abstract

The textile, tobacco, and furniture industries in North Carolina suffered a significant loss of revenue and jobs in the 1990s. As production migrated to cheaper locations overseas, communities throughout the state faced the collateral challenge of finding new uses for hundreds of large, empty mill buildings. To encourage redevelopment of the state's vacant mills, North Carolina's legislature created a tax credit program that targeted mills and other similar industrial properties. This thesis quantifies the economic successes of the state's mill rehabilitation tax credit. Building on equations and assumptions from Becky Holton's 2008 IMPLAN software model, this economic impact study uses individual project data from the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, including qualified rehabilitation expenditures, to determine the level of economic development for each year of the program's existence from 2006 to 2013. Significant findings include total rehabilitation expenditures, direct and indirect jobs created, direct and indirect income taxes generated, sales taxes generated, increased property taxes, eligible tax credit amounts, and the overall cost to the state of North Carolina. An analysis using a second multiplier from Donovan Rypkema of PlaceEconomics also demonstrates the indirect effects of the mill credit by estimating the economic impact, total jobs created, and household income associated with every one million dollars of investment in mill rehabilitation projects. By comparing annual results, this economic impact study demonstrates the tax credit's increased efficiency and use in rehabilitating mills and revitalizing North Carolina communities. The North Carolina mill tax credit program has proved successful in finding new uses for vacant mill buildings and infusing economic energy into communities hit by loss of manufacturing jobs. While the administration of the credit creates a deduction in the state budget, the mill credit's indirect economic impact on the state far exceeds the government's initial investment. Although less than a third of completed mill rehabilitation projects took place outside of the state's strong, urban markets, the mill credit has so far pushed 24 projects into feasibility. The future of the historic mill rehabilitation tax credit program faces renewal by the North Carolina state legislature in 2014.

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