The media is filled with news of the latest real estate developments, be it condos or office buildings. Another aspect of development that has been popping up in my monitoring lately are efforts, nationwide, to preserve historic buildings. While these projects are often in the news, they don’t as frequently make the cover story like some of the newer, flashier developments.
Just this morning, the Boston Herald reported on the recent efforts by the Boston Landmark Commission to name Faneuil Hall a historic landmark. Other development projects in Springfield, Providence, Detroit, Houston and Lincoln are also being impacted by the historical status of existing buildings.
While it might seem that historical status is an obstacle to overcome in the development process, it is in fact a way to maintain important and meaningful aspects of a community while also adding modern amenities and new facilities that revitalize the surrounding community. Historical renovations and redevelopments can put vacant buildings to good use, reduce energy consumption, and also draw residents or tenants with design elements such as exposed brick. Historic tax credits are an important incentive for developers to start with existing buildings rather than demolish and start anew. Historic redevelopment is not something to be overlooked when talking about real estate.
From a PR perspective, these projects always call for extra attention to be paid to the concerns of community groups. It’s important to listen to their concerns regarding historical buildings, and also for developers to communicate how they will be respecting the historical significance while also providing the benefits of a more modern property.