|Brochure from 1888 advertising the Industrial and Agricultural Expo that was located in Hamlin Park|
Hamlin Park is Buffalo’s only east side historic district and now has all three levels of designation: local, state, and national. The local listing came in the late 1990s to ensure that inappropriate alterations were not being made to the historic homes in the neighborhood. While the local designation provided the power at the city level to protect the neighborhood, it did not include the tax credit incentives that the State and National listing has brought.
If you want to stay up to date with events in the neighborhood, community meetings, residential and commercial properties for sale, and lots of historic information soon to be forthcoming, go like the Hamlin Park Historic District on Facebook, by clicking here.
Out of the nearly 1600 properties within the district boundaries, approximately 1370 of them are contributing structures, while only 190 are non-contributing as a result of integrity loss, significant alterations, loss of feeling/character, etc. That means there are now close to 1400 east side residents that can utilize the state and federal historic tax credit program.
If you own a contributing home in the district you can get a 20% tax credit for the approved work you do to the home. It basically includes anything related to the house itself including roof replacement, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, restoration of architectural features, windows, etc. There are three requirements to enroll in the program: the rehab cost must be at least $5000, 5% of that must be spent on the exterior ($250), and home must be a contributing structure. Here is the official application, which is very straightforward.
Here is an example of the benefit. Let's say you have to replace your roof, want to restore your porch details, and need a new furnace and the total cost is $15,000. The homeowner credit is 20% of the rehab expenses, which in this case yields a $3000 tax credit, which is applied to your state income tax for the year the project is completed. If your state income tax is less than $3000, the credit covers the taxes and the difference is paid back to you in a refund.
Even better news, if you own an income producing property like renting a double or an industrial/commercial building, you are eligible for a 40% tax credit on rehab work. Just like the homeowner credit, 20% comes from the state and the other 20% comes from the federal government. If you're keeping track, that means almost half of your rehab expenses are pretty much covered.
People are already investing thousands into their properties with the new tax credit incentives and commercial property owners are considering expensive and historically appropriate renovations to raise the profile of the properties and attract more than just the student population; they’re going for doctors and professionals given the reasonable pricing in the neighborhood and the proximity to Metro Rail for commuting to the medical campus downtown.
Now that Hamlin Park is officially listed on the National Register, I’ll be taking the nomination that my company, Preservation Studios created and breaking it into several series on the history of Hamlin Park. Keep an eye out for the new series starting soon and like the Hamlin Park Historic District on Facebook to stay up to date on the neighborhood happenings!