Freeman bill would promote redevelopment of vacant factory buildings

HARRISBURG, March 28 – New state tax incentives would be created to promote redevelopment and reuse of abandoned or neglected factory or mill buildings in Pennsylvania under legislation authored by state Rep. Robert Freeman.

"Using a building for the purpose other than what it was originally intended for is a way to reuse buildings that have stood in our communities for decades. Some of the buildings have been around for more than 100 years. They might be neglected, but they are still standing,” said Freeman, D-Northampton. “My bill would provide an incentive to breathe new life into these buildings – many of which are part of a community’s heritage and identity.

"Repurposing an old factory or mill for retail, office or arts space, or transforming them into dwellings, encourages economic development and improves the quality of life of a community."

Freeman’s legislation would establish three types of tax incentive programs:

  • A 25% tax credit for the rehabilitation and reconstruction costs incurred by the owner.
  • A business tax credit equal to the salaries and wages paid to full-time employees, up to a maximum of $7,000 per employee.
  • An interest income tax credit of 15% on the interest from loans for the expenditures within the building. The limit would be up to $12,000 per taxable year. The loan holder also would be eligible for a 100% tax credit, up to $25,000 per taxable year, on interest from loans for substantial rehabilitation.

Freeman said adaptive reuse isn’t a new concept and has been successfully applied in revitalization efforts in many communities. He pointed to the number of old industrial buildings around the Lehigh Valley that have been repurposed. The Silk Mill on North 13th Street in Easton is one example of adaptive reuse of an old factory complex.

House Bill 653 was referred to the House Finance Committee.