It seems that some folks at the City have noticed that a number of developers have awakened to the opportunities, not to mention the aesthetic pleasure and social good, to be had by rehabbing Dallas’ historic buildings Downtown and in other inner-city areas. These deals are happening because many of the properties were acquired on the cheap during the late-‘80s real estate bust, but also because the City’s preservation tax incentives often make the difference in whether one of these complicated and risky deals will make any economic sense. Apparently on the theory that if someone’s actually doing these projects successfully there must be something wrong, the City now seems to think that now is the time to ratchet down the amount of incentives available for these “public-private partnership” deals.

Of course, the preservation groups, historic redevelopers and others are aghast, not least because – without boring you with the math – the City’s assumptions appear to be deeply flawed. Some people pretty high on the food chain at City Hall may have some kind of gut dislike for “developer incentives,” but I guarantee you these are critical to Downtown’s comeback and the well-being of any neighborhood within miles of it.

The issue may go to the City Council as early as Dec. 10. Stay tuned, and if you’re interested call Preservation Dallas at 821-3290 or your City Council representative.

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