The Internal and External Impact of Historical Designation on Property Values
Designation of historic properties and historic districts is increasingly used as a means to revive central-city neighborhoods and to promote urban economic development. While preservation activities are thought to generate positive externalities for surrounding neighborhoods, these external effects have been difficult to quantify. Using a database of tax-appraisal records for residential properties in Abilene, Texas, this study demonstrates that there are significant, positive externalities associated with historic designation. We perform simple cost-benefit calculations and find that the internal and external benefits more than outweigh the (nonzero) costs associated with historical designation. Moreover, from the city of Abilene's perspective the property-tax incentives provided to historic reinvestment are outweighed by the added property-tax revenue created by the increased value. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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