Historic tax credit program partially restored; Hotel Northland project benefits

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 07/14 2014 03:13PM

Updated 07/14 2014 07:14PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - One year from now the historic Hotel Northland downtown Green Bay is slated to re-open.

However,  developers ran into a financing snag three weeks ago, when the state froze a tax credit for historic preservation.

Today the funding was reinstated.

"When you see these beautiful historic buildings that are boarded up, people do not feel very good about their communities" says Mike Frantz, whose company Frantz Community Investors is developing the hotel. 

The group is counting on roughly $7 million in state tax credits, to execute their restoration.

"Historic repurposing is much more expensive on a square foot, than new construction for example" Frantz explains.

Three weeks ago the state halted the tax credits because of unexpected demand.

They had already approved $35 million in tax credits, nearly nine times the original estimate of $4 million.

The demand speaks to a growing trend.

"Downtowns are back in a big way" says Green Bay Economic Development Director, Greg Flisram. "People like authentic, they like history of old buildings".

After crunching the numbers, the state lifted the moratorium on tax credits for certified historic buildings.

The Hotel Northland will qualify.

For the time being, buildings constructed before 1936 that are not recognized as historic will not get tax credits.

"That could impact some of the less remarkable buildings in Green Bay like the Schauer & Schumacher building and a handful of others" Flisram says.

Remodeling will start in October at the Hotel Northland.

"Probably a lot of demolition, we will be taking a lot of the top floors where the sleeping rooms will be located. Those rooms will be cleared out completely" explains Frantz.

Projects approved before the moratorium will be grandfathered in regardless of their historical status.

Of the $35 million approved, $15 million went to non-certified buildings.

Copyright Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.