City working to get National Register Historic District

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- A push by the city's Historic Preservation Commission could translate into significant tax credits for developers interested in working with Albany's historic properties.

In a presentation Tuesday to the Albany City Commission, Roseanne Braswell, with the city's Planning Department, and Paul Forgey, with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission, updated their efforts to create the district.

Different from the city's existing historic district, the National Register Historic District is a separate zone that, if approved by state and federal authorities, would offer incentives for what Forgey said would be responsible development, especially in the commercial sector.

"While people who live in houses within the zone would be able to benefit, the significant issue here is for commercial development," he said. "In some cases, up to 40 percent of the cost of rehabilitating property can be recovered through tax credits."

The map presented Tuesday covers most of what is considered the historic downtown region, ending just south of Mercer Avenue and just north of Roosevelt Avenue. To the east it would be bounded by the Flint River and to the west by Madison and Davis Streets.

Earlier this year, officials held a seminar using Historic Augusta to tout possible opportunities for developers in an effort to entice construction efforts downtown.

Traditionally developers shy away from projects involving older properties because of the work that is often needed merely to bring them up to existing building and safety codes. But through various tax incentives, Braswell and Forgey hope to mitigate enough of that initial cost to make development worthwhile.

Local developer and property owner Bob Brooks is currently one of the more active property owners downtown.

Brooks has recently bought one of the oldest buildings downtown -- the former NAPA building on Pine Avenue -- and is in the process of rendering the building safe before doing an environmental study on the property.

He just recently performed some trim work on the former Goodwill building on Broad Avenue across from the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and has put extensive effort into the Exchange Building at the corner of Broad and Washington Street -- both of which are already on the National Registry.

Click here to see the map.