Historic building and commercial restoration is trendy, yet more than just a passing fad. Here are four great reasons to prioritize restoring historic buildings rather than building new ones.
They Built This City
Celebrate Chicago by adding value to already existing local infrastructure. Historic preservation attracts visitors for “heritage tourism,” creates twice as many jobs as new construction, and protects the tax investments of the local community. Former office buildings such as the London Guarantee Building and the Old Dearborn Bank Building are taking advantage of this by converting into boutique hotels.
It’s Great for your Budget
Revitalizing your city yields financial incentives, such as facade grants or low-interest loans. If the building is on the National Record of Historic Places or declared a certified historic building by the National Park Service, you may get a tax break. The energy efficiency of these buildings is superior, and their status as historic buildings adds to the value.
It’s the Green Thing to Do
Historic buildings and commercial restoration generate less than a third of the carbon footprint left by new construction. Plus, modern solar technology and insulation can always be added to increase sustainability.
Built to Last
Pre-World War II buildings (those built before 1940) used old-growth wood and high-quality craftsmanship. Beams and floorboards were built using hardwoods native to the Chicago area (like oak, fir, white pine, and poplar), which are carried into the architectural details. Many, such as the Chicago Motor Club Building, are active monuments to the Art Deco style and the prosperity our city felt in the 1920s. With reasonable maintenance, these buildings will continue to prove their worth for generations to come.