Assemblywoman Nellie Pou, Chairwoman, and
Members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee
New Jersey Statehouse
Trenton, NJ 08625
Re: Historic Properties Revitalization Act, HPRA, A1851 (S659)
Dear Assemblywoman Nellie Pou:
HPRA has been an idea for legislation for more than a decade. Unfortunately, I
believe its lack of success is rooted in misconceptions.
Too often “historic” is taken as code for the sweet bed and breakfast inn at a
Victorian seaside resort or the individual house museum. Rather, historic would
better apply to literally thousands of structures across the state in urban centers
and elsewhere that exist already in established historic districts such as
Paterson’s Downtown Commercial and Eastside Park Historic Districts, Newark’s
Lincoln Park and North Broad Street neighborhoods and Camden’s Coopers
Grant and Fairview neighborhoods, as well as numerous other older buildings in
need of rehabilitation in districts and in individual settings.
Moreover, the word “historic” belies the importance of rehabilitation activities in
the construction industry and, therefore, the economy statewide. Work on
existing structures accounts for a very high percentage of construction wages
earned in the state. Similarly, design services that entail work on existing
buildings account for the highest percentage of income by category for architects
and their staff. Promoting the rehabilitation and revitalization of our aging
building stock is green and enacting HPRA would help in efforts to make wage
earners again out of the thousands engaged in construction and architecture who
have been idled by the current Great Recession.
Lastly, this legislation been given a bum rap because it entails a tax credit. Our
data shows that more than three dollars in new revenue will be collected for
every tax dollar forgiven and the new revenue flows in before the tax credit is
The time has come to advance this legislation.
Michael Calafati, AIA, LEED AP
Chair, AIA-NJ Historic Resources Committee