January 30, 2015

Downtown Kinston Update

North Carolina’s chief cultural officer Susan Kluttz spent most of the day Jan. 29 in Kinston extolling the value of now-defunct historic tax credits which have stimulated $1.6 billion in private investments throughout the State since 1998.

She called the program, which was allowed to expire Dec. 31, 2014 by the North Carolina General Assembly, as one which boosts “local economies, creating jobs while preserving communities’ historic cores and our state’s priceless historic character.”

Ms. Kluttz, Secretary of Cultural Resources since Jan. 2013, made her spirited defense at the Kinston Rotary Club, and earlier in a television interview. “We have a crisis in Raleigh,” she said, telling her audiences here and elsewhere that legislative observers are telling her that it will be an uphill battle to get the General Assembly to reverse course during the 2015 session.

Part of the problem, she says, is that most people don’t know about tax credits and have never heard about them. She is calling her visits around the state as an “Awareness Tour.” In general, federal and state historic tax credits (20% each) permit owners who improve their historic properties to subtract 40% from their tax bills.

With support of Gov. Pat McCrory, she is stumping the state advocating the return of the credits, assembling a formidable coalition of local political, business and cultural leaders to help make the case to legislative leaders. At every stop, she is urging local citizens to contact their legislators urging them to re-instate the credits.

To buttress her case, Secretary Kluttz made a presentation to Rotary describing 20 local renovation projects making use of the historic tax credits reflecting almost $17.5 million in qualified investments.

Following her Rotary presentation, Secretary Kluttz led a tour of local officials to visit the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center and the O’Neil at 200 N. Queen and other projects developed by entrepreneur Stephen Hill.

She praised Hill and other Kinston investors for their vision and foresight which is changing the face of Kinston. “I talk about Kinston all the time,” she said.


TOTALS

Kinston Tax Credits: Facts and Figures

10 ongoing income-producing projects with a projected investment of $2,640,818.

9 income-producing projects completed with an investment of $14,873,592.

1 non-income producing projects with an investment of $45,000.

COMPLETED PROJECTS (Income-Producing)

Hotel Kinston, 501-503 North Queen Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This 1928 Art Deco-style hotel was converted to low-income housing in 1969. Rehabilitation tax credits were utilized for two separate projects on this building one in 1990, the second in 2007. Both projects continued the use of the building as affordable housing. Portions of the historic ballroom were retained as public space. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $3,988,535

Overland Garage, 125-129 West Blount Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
Completed in 2003, the first floor of this circa 1915 building was rehabilitated as commercial space and is currently being used as an art gallery and artist studio space. The second floor was rehabilitated as office space for the owner’s architectural firm, while the third floor houses two apartments. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $298,912

(former) U.S. Post Office, 112 East Gordon Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
Completed in 1994, this circa 1904 building was rehabilitated for use as office space. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $41,921

Kinston Apartments, 1313 McAdoo Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
The 1941 Kinston Apartments, a five-building brick apartment complex is one of North Carolina’s earliest examples of a garden apartment complex. This project, completed in 2004, consisted of the rehabilitation of the entire complex of buildings for use as affordable housing. The naturalistic park-like courtyard and grounds, an important character-defining feature of the property, was maintained as part of the project. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $2,350,000

American Tobacco Prizery/Nantucket Warehouse, 619 North Herritage Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
Completed in 2005, this 1901 building was rehabilitated as a mixed-used project consisting of twenty eight market-rate apartments and six small retail/commercial spaces. On-site amenities include exercise and play rooms, a laundry, and a library. The southern portion of the building was converted into 30 indoor parking spaces. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $3,027,000

J. F. Parrott House, 500 Pollock Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This 1908 single family residence had been converted into two low-income apartment units. As part of the 2008 rehabilitation, the house was returned to a single-family residential use and serves a rental property. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $45,000

Dal F. Wooten House, 412 Mitchell Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
Completed in 1997, this circa 1901 single family residence was rehabilitated for use as a three-unit rental apartment building. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $32,000

Grainger High School, 300 Park Avenue, Kinston, Lenoir County
Closed as a school in 1987, this 1926 Colonial Revival-style high school building was rehabilitated in 2001 for use as fifty seven apartment units for elderly tenants. The auditorium is utilized as a performing arts center, while the gymnasium is used by the city’s recreation department. The building also houses a senior center, community room, dining room, and laundry facilities for residents. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $4,900,000

COMPLETED PROJECTS (Non-Income Producing)

J. P. Tucker House, 508 Perry Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
Completed in 2000, this circa 1925 single family residence was rehabilitated by the owner for use as their primary residence. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $45,000

ONGOING PROJECTS

Citizen’s/First National Bank, 201 North Queen Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This on-going rehabilitation converted this circa 1903 former bank building into a mixed-use development consisting of retail space on the first floor, office space on the second floor, and apartments on the third floor. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $300,000

Ellis Carriage Works, 126 West Blount Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
With work being done in two phases, this circa 1915 building is in the process of being rehabilitated for a beer distribution warehouse space for an adjacent brewery operation. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses – Phase 1: $130,000

J. H. Ellis House 216 West Peyton Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This circa 1901 single family residence had been converted into three apartment units. Following the rehabilitation the house continues to serve as three rental apartment units. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses - $267,415

Farmers & Merchants Bank, 200 North Queen Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
The on-going rehabilitation converted this circa 1924 Italian Renaissance Revival-style former bank building into a mixed used development consisting of residential, office, and bed-and-breakfast spaces. Project Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses - $600,000

Hodges-Walter House, 400 Mitchell Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This circa 1900 single family residence was rehabilitated for use as a single-family rental residential property. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses – $148,393

Miller Furniture, 118 West North Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
The on-going rehabilitation of this circa 1901 building will subdivide the interior space into three separate commercial spaces housing a salon, retail space, and a rental venue. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses - $400,000
Sarahurst, 1201 North Queen Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
use as a single- This 1902 Neoclassical Revival-style house is in the process of being rehabilitated for family rental residential property. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses - $149,000

Standard Drug No. 2, 100 South Queen Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
With work being done in two phases, this circa 1920 former drug store building is in the process of being rehabilitated as a mixed use restaurant/specialty food store. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses – Phase 1: $245,000

Wilson-Pollock House, 416 College Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This circa 1910 single family residence had been converted into two apartment units. Following the rehabilitation the house will continue to serve as two rental apartment units. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses - $35,010

J. C. Wooten House, 416 Mitchell Street, Kinston, Lenoir County
This circa 1890 single family residence had been converted into four apartment units. Following the rehabilitation the house will continue to serve as four rental apartment units. Estimated Rehabilitation Expenses - $366,000


COMMISSIONERS ENDORSE
TAX CREDITS

Susan Kluttz, North Carolina’s Secretary of Cultural Resources, is asking all those who favor restoration of historic tax credits to add their names to a petition which is to be presented to the North Carolina General Assembly.

That web address is www.historictaxcredits.org.

Traveling the State to urge restoration of the credits, Secretary Kluttz was in Kinston January 29, 2015 where she revealed that owners of 20 historic properties in Kinston invested nearly $17.5 million to renovate their eligible properties. Owners of eligible properties must spend the money to complete renovations in order to qualify for the credits, she pointed out. “It’s not a giveaway program.”

The Lenoir County Commissioners today signed on with a campaign to seek approval by the 2015 General Assembly to reinstate historic tax credits, urging their “continued availability to those interested in reinvesting in our historic structures.”

A resolution submitted by Mark Pope, Lenoir County’s director of Economic Development, noted a number of downtown Kinston projects which earned tax credits—including the O’Neil building at 200 N. Queen and restaurants Ginger 108 and the Boiler Room—projects undertaken by entrepreneur Stephen Hill. It was a unanimous vote in support.

The commissioners’ resolution extolled historic tax credits as tools to entice re-investment… “to strengthen our tax base…” and which “support our local economy…” They voted to share their resolution with partners seeking support from the 2015 General Assembly to re-instate the tax credits which expired Dec. 31, 2014.

The resolution mirrored many of the positions taken by Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz in her remarks to the Kinston Rotary Club and when she toured Kinston projects during her Kinston visit.


Developer/contractor William Jarman has acquired the old Elks Club building at 110 East Caswell Street and is renovating the building’s 15,162 square feet of space to make way for Susan Colomaio’s catering business.

Mr. Jarman is hoping the renovation will be completed by end of February as a new site for Ms. Colomaio’s Olivia’s, her catering operations.


The gaping hole which used to be 116 N. Queen Street, sandwiched between H. Stadiem’s department store and the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center, is being cleared after the failing structure was condemned by the City of Kinston.

Owners of the property, Dr. and Ms. Eric Ibegbu, say they have no immediate plans for the property once the remains of an old structure are removed.

Ms. Ibegbu says they are willing to sell the vacant lot for $150,000.00 to recoup monies they have spent on the property.


Enticing new investors

317 - 321 N. Queen StreetPride of Kinston is ramping up its efforts to attract new investors to the downtown business district.

A growing campaign to highlight properties available for lease or purchase details information about each under the Invest in Downtown site on Pride’s website.

A project of Pride’s Economic and Property Development committee headed by Stuart Lindley, buildings deemed to be in good condition and available for immediate use are candidates for the enlarged promotional effort.

The current listing includes:
127 N. Queen Street
215 N. Queen Street
311 N. Queen Street
106 W. Gordon Street


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"The vision of Pride of Kinston, Inc. is a downtown on the banks of the Neuse River that serves as the gateway to Eastern North Carolina. Our appreciation of history guides our future and promotes the magic to grow business, recreation, and the arts."


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The mission of Pride of Kinston, Inc., established in 1984, is to lead downtown revitalization in Kinston using the Main Street approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which promotes economic development within the context of historic preservation.

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