The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


April 16, 2013

Legislation would increase number of tax credits


"It doesn't take away all the risks, but it could mean that some of the projects that have been sitting on the sideline will come out," Johnson said.

Sondgeroth echoed Johnson's sentiments.

"Historic tax credits have shown to have a clear and absolute return when you have a stock like Clinton," Sondgeroth said. "This could have a direct positive impact on Clinton not only in downtown, but in the Lyons District as well."

One project in particular that Clinton area leaders hope will benefit from the expansion is the Wilson Building project. Investors with Cedar Rapids based Frantz-Hobart plan to transform the six-story structure into 29 market-rate apartments with historic tax credits playing a major role in the $7 million renovation. According to partner Jim Hobart, the company is very close to securing the funding for the project. Hobart said he fully supports expanding the program, which often has a backlog of projects to fund.

"The more money that's available in the pool, the more renovations are possible," Hobart said. "Sometimes there are projects we get into that don't get funded for the year we are working on them. It's obviously better if you start working on a project and don't have to wait to get the funds two years later."

The bill was introduced to the house on Monday. Rep. Steve Olson, R-DeWitt, said the item is not on the House's debate calendar yet and it's not clear if the bill will be discussed before the end of the session.

"If it does come up, I will be supportive of it because it is an economic growth tool that has been used successfully in the past," Olson said.

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