ASHTABULA — The Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $31.2 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the rehabilitation of 40 historic buildings, including $2 million in tax credits to the former Carlisle’s and Masonic buildings on Main Avenue.
Together, the projects are expected to leverage about $347 million in private investments in nine communities.
“This is good news,” said Charles Borsukoff, president of JCI Contractors, the company charged with the construc-tion project.
This $20.4 million project in downtown Ashtabula encompasses four buildings: three that were part of the Carlisle-Allen Co. department store and one that was the Masonic Temple. Most of the space has been vacant for more than 20 years. Redevelopment plans call for the complex to be redeveloped into 104 affordable senior apartments as well as a restaurant space.
As part of the project, the buyers, Renew LLC, acquired Main Avenue’s nomination as a Historic District on the National Registry of Historic places. This district will include both sides of Main Avenue between the former Municipal Building at West 44th Street and Main Avenue on the north and the former Hotel Ashtabula building on the south end of Main Avenue.
“This is vital for the preservation of current and future buildings on Main Avenue,” Borsukoff said. “It will allow all building owners within the proposed district to obtain tax incentives.”
Borsukoff said the group received support from city officials, as well as the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association.
JCI Contractors will serve as the construction manager and general contractor for the project and is working closely with Renew in pre-construction planning.
Renew is no stranger to developing complex historic tax credit projects. Renew is led by Chuck Borsukoff and Shawn Neece, who, along with JCI Contractors redeveloped the historic Hotel Ashtabula into medical offices for Signature Health.
Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said many communities in Ohio are filled with charm.
“You see it in the historic buildings that line our downtowns and neighborhoods,” she said. “Working with local community and business leaders, we’re removing blight in neighborhoods and transforming these buildings into new places for Ohioans to live and work.”
The tax credits will assist private developers in rehabilitating historic buildings in downtowns and neighborhoods. Many of the buildings are vacant today and generate little economic activity. Once rehabilitated, they will drive further investment and interest in adjacent property. Developers are not issued the tax credit until project construction is complete and all program requirements are verified.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office. The State Historic Preservation Office determines if a property qualifies as a historic building and that the rehabilitation plans comply with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.