Rep. Freeman bill would promote redevelopment of abandoned factory buildings

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has reintroduced legislation (H.B. 2269) that would establish tax incentives to promote redevelopment and reuse of vacant factory or mill buildings in municipalities in Pennsylvania.

"Adaptive reuse or using a building for the purpose other than which it was originally intended, is a way to reuse buildings that have stood in our communities for decades. 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 said.

"Some of these buildings have withstood the test of time for more than 100 years. They might be vacant, but they are still standing. My bill would provide an incentive to breathe new life into these buildings – many of which are part of a community heritage and identity."

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

  • A 25 percent 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 $5,000 per employee; and

  • An interest income tax credit of 10 percent on the interest from loans for the expenditures within the building. The limit would be up to $10,000 per taxable year. The loan holder also would be eligible for a 100 percent tax credit, up to $20,000 per taxable year, on interest from loans for substantial rehabilitation.

Freeman said adaptive reuse isn’t a new concept and pointed to the number of old industrial buildings around the Lehigh Valley that have been repurposed. The Silk Mill at North 13th Street is one such example of adaptive reuse of an old factory complex.