Over the past year, we have been exploring ways to leverage historic preservation tax credits to finance the remaining restoration of Happy Retreat. In a nutshell, combined Federal and West Virginia state historic preservation tax credits can recover up to 45% of the cost of the restoration of a historic property, so that for every $100,000 spent, $45,000 can be recovered through tax credits. Since Friends of Happy Retreat is a non-profit corporation and does not pay taxes, we cannot avail ourselves of these credits directly. But we can “sell” them to private investors. A recent example was the City of Charles Town’s restoration of Charles Washington Hall. The City recouped $850,000 of the cost of that project through the sale of the historic preservation tax credits earned on the restoration of that building.
We have hired the same firm that the City of Charles Town used for Charles Washington Hall to put together a plan that will allow us to sell the historic preservation tax credits available for the full restoration of Happy Retreat. In addition to completing the restoration of the house, the plan will include a larger strategic plan for the use of the entire property, including landscaping, lighting, traffic flow and how to integrate the 2.3 acres owned by Friends of Happy Retreat into the surrounding 10 acres of land owned by the City of Charles Town. We are grateful to several donors who have offered to underwrite the cost of preparing this plan.
We have made great progress on the restoration of Happy Retreat over the past five years thanks to the contributions of many generous donors. We believe this plan will allow us not only to complete the physical restoration of the house, but develop the entire property to its potential as a center for history and culture for all to enjoy. We look forward to sharing this planning with
you in 2021!
Happy Holidays to all!