More and More Historic MS Businesses Getting Restored and Revitalized

TUPELO/GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Daily Journal

A growing number of Northeast Mississippi entrepreneurs are investing money into restoring historic properties for commercial use, helping to turn old structures into viable businesses. The amounts spent on projects such as these have kept going up (and up and up!) over the past decade or so. thanks to tax incentives offered to those who wish to put in the work.

Columbus Developer Chris Chain has been a pioneer in this space over the past three decades, renovating 150 structures across the state in that time: “You are always going to have people interested in living downtown, so it kind of gives you a niche in the market for living space,” Chain said. “It’s hard work but it gives you a lot of pride when you can rebuild something and recapture that heritage, when you walk into these apartments they are going to have high ceilings, skylights, hard flooring; beautiful features that you just cannot get anymore . . . You can’t rebuild these back the way they were, it’s just too expensive, so restoration is the way to do it,” he went on to say.

According to data supplied by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 94 percent of the state historic tax credit funding from 2006 onwards have been utilized for commercial projects like these, indicating the popularity of the tax and the eagerness of developers to restore these buildings. Roughly half of all such renovation projects are used for commercial purposes, with others focused on residences and the like.

Chain noted that developers interested in historic renovation have access to other incentives as well, such as those offered by energy companies. For instance, he saved 25 percent on the lighting for a project via one such program.

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