Downtown Wilmington Seeks Executive Director

Downtown Wilmington, a 501c-3 organization, is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director.

Downtown Wilmington is seeking an experienced, self-motivated person to lead and maintain a strong and aggressive downtown revitalization program. The Executive Director will coordinate, facilitate, promote, and advance the revitalization of a vibrant, economically viable downtown district.   The Director will serve as a visionary, listener, and collaborator with various civic and professional constituents in the community, particularly downtown business owners.

We seek a Director that will adapt to the ever‐changing needs of Wilmington’s downtown district, implementing historic preservation ethics, encouraging cooperative efforts between individuals and groups to accomplish project goals. The Executive Director is responsible for being “the face” of Downtown Wilmington.

Applicants should have a college degree and/or equivalent experience in one or more of the following areas: historic preservation, planning, economic development, marketing, design, volunteer management, or business administration. The Director must be entrepreneurial, energetic, and well organized. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential. This is a full-time, high-profile position within the community and requires creative and technological skills, professionalism, and confidentiality.

Submit resume, cover letter, and three references by February 22, 2015 to Downtown Wilmington, c/o Search Committee, 44 W Main Street, Wilmington, OH  45177.  Or submit electronically to info@mainstreetwilmington.com.   Downtown Wilmington is an equal opportunity employer.

Detroit Shoreway Seeking Economic Development Director

DETROIT SHOREWAY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION is hiring for the position of Economic Development Director.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

REPORTS TO:   Managing Director, Detroit Shoreway neighborhood office

SUMMARY OF POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Economic Development Director will be responsible for the overall economic development, coordination and implementation of commercial/retail district revitalization for Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO). These responsibilities include recruiting and providing technical assistance to businesses, coordinating public improvements and governmental approvals in the commercial district, managing the Gordon Square Special Improvement District (GSAD-CIC) and support for marketing and special events. Bachelor’s degree is required.

COMPENSATION - Annual salary $40,000 to $50,000 commensurate with experience.

Jeffrey M. Ramsey
Executive Director
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
SCFBC Office
3167 Fulton Road, Suite 303
Cleveland, OH  44109
Phone:  (216) 961-9073 ext. 210
FAX:  (216) 961-9387
Email:  jramsey@dscdo.org

Call for Conference Session Proposals

Heritage Ohio is currently planning for our Annual Conference to be held in Columbus October 5-7, 2015. If you have a session that might be interesting to our audience of revitalization & preservation advocates and professionals link HERE for our proposal guidelines, proposals will be accepted through February 28.

Conference crowd

3 signs your contractor is doing more harm than good to your masonry building

We learn early on in the preservation field about the dangers of abrasive “cleaning” on old masonry. Heck, it’s even immortalized in the Secretary’s standards, saying, “Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, will be undertaken using the GENTLEST means possible (my emphasis). Treatments that cause damage to historic materials will not be used.” (What’s that? You’d like a refresher on the other 9 standards? OK, you can check ‘em out here.)

I like to refer to this as the sandblasting standard; in other words, don’t do it! When it comes to masonry, don’t blast it. Don’t blast with sand, water, walnut shells, ice pellets,  or anything else that comes out of a heavy rubber hose at high pressure. Just don’t.

Sometimes I forget that not everyone who owns an old, historic masonry building has learned this important lesson, so I’m asking you today, dear reader, to help us get the message out. Let design review boards, preservation groups, owners of brick buildings, and anyone else who could benefit from the knowledge, know that blasting historic masonry is just plain bad.

Meanwhile, I’ll share with you my unfortunate experience I had the other day, and some signs that the masonry contractor is doing more harm than good to your building.

1. Fast paint removal

I’ve always thought of any construction project as having three pillars of output: time, price, and quality. Of course, every owner wishes to have the project done quickly, cheaply, and of high quality. But in this case, two out of three is perfection. You can’t have all three, so you have to decide which two you’re going to focus on (might I suggest high quality as one of the two).

This means that if you want something done quickly and to high quality, you’ll pay the price. If you want something done cheaply and to high quality, you can bet it will take a long time to get the project finished (if you can even pair up price and quality to begin with). And if you want something done quickly and cheaply, you’ll likely pay for it with a low quality job.

In this case, beware the contractor who offers “fast” paint removal from brick. The only way you’ll get fast paint removal from brick is at the cost of compromising the very integrity of your masonry. This is where blasting brick to remove paint comes in. Blasting brick is a great way to remove paint “fast.” What it does to the brick? Not so great.

These guys may be setting a speed record on paint removal. That's not a good thing.

These guys may be setting a speed record on paint removal. That’s not a good thing.

2. Brick valleys

Masonry, even the old “soft” brick is a pretty smooth building material. It doesn’t have ridges and valleys, like what we see here, once the damage has been done.

When the hard outer shell of the brick has been removed, you’re left with a much softer interior. Soft interiors+freeze/thaw cycles=bad news. But, while the structural integrity of the brick has been compromised, at least the paint’s gone!

They had the blaster set to "destroy" for this job. Notice how the horizontal lines extend along the same level, from one brick to another? This was caused by the blasting material (in this case, water), the proximity of the tool to the surface (too close), and the pressure of the blasting.

They had the blaster set to “destroy” for this job. Notice how the horizontal lines extend along the same level, from one brick to another? This was caused by the blasting material (in this case, water), the proximity of the tool to the surface (too close), and the pressure of the blasting.

3. Nozzles and brick: up close and personal

Now, it’s not that we frown upon anything harsher than cotton balls dipped in warm water, delicately rubbed back in forth in a gentle, circular motion, to cure what ills your brick. It’s just that there’s this wide gulf of possibility between too gentle and too harsh. Yes, you can loosen flaking paint with water jets. But, you have to be careful that the pressure setting won’t harm your brick. You also have to be mindful that water, as the sworn enemy of historic buildings, will do bad things if it gets into the building. And, even a low setting too close to the wall can be bad for your brick. A high setting too close to the wall is more like fatal for your brick.

Bye bye paint, bye bye brick crust, bye bye brick integrity.

Bye bye paint, bye bye brick crust, bye bye brick integrity.

As preservationists, we should all savor the opportunities to educate people about the wonderful assets they have, and that the care and maintenance of elderly buildings is best left to restoration professionals.

Cincinnati’s Music Hall receives catalytic tax credit award

Attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hannaford#mediaviewer/File:Cincinnati_Music_Hall_2002a.jpg

Attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hannaford#mediaviewer/File:Cincinnati_Music_Hall_2002a.jpg

Music Hall in Cincinnati was the big winner in the latest round of tax credit awards named yesterday. You can read more from ODSA’s press release here.

The 10% (residential) tax credit…no, really! Pt II

We left off with my promise to share what I found out about the 10% tax credit, and just what you could or couldn’t do with it when it comes residential rehabilitation.

I started by checking out Form 3468 from the IRS, the form you attach to your return (you can view a PDF of the form here). One definite advantage to the 10% credit is the fact that there’s no 3-part process involving the SHPO, the National Park Service, the IRS, and your raft of consultants (depending on the complexity of your project). You report your 10% credit on a three-page form that you include in your annual return. And really, it’s one line multiplying your Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures by 10%, and entering that total on the last line of the form.

In consulting the 2013 Instructions for Form 3468 (which you can find here) because nothing with the IRS is as easy as writing the total in one line, we learn that the Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures have to be for “nonresidential rental property.” So what exactly does that mean? Sorry, the IRS can’t be bothered with including definitions for common terms used on the form. That would be…helpful.

What if you could use the 10% tax credit on redevelopment projects that included a residential component?

There’s that same building again, only bigger.

However; undaunted, and hot on the trail of this mystery, I google “nonresidential rental property definition” and then I google “residential rental property definition” which brings me to the next IRS publication. IRS Publication 527 covers residential rental property (yep, I’ve got your link for it here) and the IRS gets into property classes. While the classes don’t include “nonresidential rental property,” we do get a definition for “residential rental property” as follows:

This class includes any real property that is a rental building or structure (including a mobile home) for which 80% or more of the gross rental income for the tax year is from
dwelling units….

So, does that mean the inverse applies for the definition of nonresidential rental property? As long as less than 80% of your income comes from dwelling units, is your property defined as nonresidential rental property in the eyes of the IRS? I kept searching.

A fair amount of googling later, I came upon IRS Publication 946, which delves into property depreciation (you glutton…here you go) and the good folks at the IRS included a glossary in the publication. Their definition for residential rental property (sorry, nothing under the Ns for nonresidential rental property) is:

Real property, generally buildings or structures, if 80% or more of its annual gross rental income is from dwelling units.

So, again, do we flip greater than 80% for less than 80% to come to the definition of nonresidential rental property? And, anyway, why should we really care?

And the answer is that there is a lot of potential for the renovation of old, mixed-use commercial buildings, 2- 3- or 4-story, that could use the 10% rehab tax credit, but that don’t, leaving serious incentive money on the table. According to the IRS, as long as less than 80% of your income comes from the residential portion of your building, the IRS categorizes it as nonresidential rental property, and appears to be eligible for the 10% tax credit. And on a $100,000 rehab project, that’s an extra $10,000 in the developer’s pocket at the end. Not bad for filling out a couple lines on your tax return.

Now, since I’m not a lawyer or tax advisor, I’m afraid all I can do is whip you into a frenzy over incentive dollars you could be taking advantage of (or did all the IRS publications already do that?) so please don’t take this as a substitute for consulting your own favorite tax person or lawyer.

If you have your own two cents, or 10%, to contribute to the conversation, I’d love to hear from you. Have you successfully taken the 10% credit on a project with a residential component? Have you uncovered that elusive definition of nonresidential rental property that you would be willing to share? Thanks for reading!

The 10% (residential) tax credit…no, really! Pt I

Every good preservationist knows that rehab tax credits get subdivided into two neat categories: the 20% credit for the rehab of National Register-listed buildings, and the 10% credit for the rehab of non-NR properties constructed before 1936. Every good preservationist also knows that the 10% credit can only go toward buildings with non-residential uses (it says so in the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives brochure that you can check out here).

What if you could use the 10% tax credit on redevelopment projects that included a residential component?

What if you could use the 10% tax credit on redevelopment projects that included a residential component?

As someone who likes to consider myself somewhat well-versed in the rehab tax credits, you can imagine my surprise when my Historic Real Estate Finance instructor asserted that, in fact, you could use the 10% credit for a project that included a residential component. I remember thinking at the time that that was a good piece of tax credit info to know, and I filed it away in my mind.

Fast forward to yesterday, and Joyce and I were having a conversation with a developer who is redeveloping a non-NR building, constructed before 1936, for mixed use.

So, I bring up the 10% tax credit. The developer would use the 10%, but the building development will have a residential component…and then I pounce.

Well yes, but, did you know you *can* use the 10% on a mixed use project with residential?

However, after piquing the developer’s interest, I realize I can’t exactly defend my position with official IRS definitions, or publication references proving my point. So, I tasked myself with a mini-IRS immersion to first and foremost conclusively prove (at least to myself) that I’m providing useful information a building developer will actually be able to use.

I’ll share my search for definitive answers (and the results) in Part II.

Our Town grant announcement

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced its latest round of funding for its Our Town initiative. Eligible activities include Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, or Design. Prior grant recipients in Ohio have included: Westcott House Foundation in Springfield (2014), Pomerene Center for the Arts in Coshocton (2013), Detroit Shoreway in Cleveland (2012), Art Opportunities in Cincinnati (2012), and Artspace in Hamilton (2011), so the NEA is familiar with Our Town projects in Ohio.

An initial online application submitted through Grants.gov is due by December 15, 2014. For more information, click here to access the Our Town Grant information page.

Downtown Painesville Hiring Executive Director

Job Posting: Executive Director
Employer: Downtown Painesville Organization

The Downtown Painesville Organization is looking for an energetic, imaginative and self-motivated director for economic development organization. Successful candidate will be responsible for leading historic revitalization program within the downtown business district.

Resumes should be submitted with cover letter expressing interest and three professional references. This posting is open until filled.

Send To:

Downtown Painesville Organization

One Victoria Place #265A Painesville, OH 44077

————————————————————————

Founded in 2007, the Downtown Painesville Organization is a 501c3 non‐profit revitalizing Painesville’s historic core via the Ohio Main Street Program. Based in historic preservation, the Main Street approach was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save America’s traditional downtowns. The Executive Director’s responsibilities include a broad range of economic development activities. The Executive Director must be creative, entrepreneurial and adaptable to the changing needs of the organization.

The Executive Director coordinates the activities of the downtown revitalization program and is responsible for the development, conduct, execution and documentation of the Main Street Program in accordance with Heritage Ohio and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program. The executive director is the principal on‐site staff person responsible for coordinating all project activities locally as well as for representing the community regionally and nationally as appropriate. In addition, the executive director should help guide the organization as it grows and as its objectives evolve.

PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITES

• Full‐time advocate for the downtown and primary coordinator of the Main Street program’s activities • Oversees daily operations, providing the hands‐on involvement critical to a successful program.
• Coordinates a wide range of projects, from supervising promotional activities to managing internship program and volunteer projects

• Working cooperatively with the local community to develop and implement a local action plan and timetable which includes public and private activities and events.
• Assisting individual merchants and property owners with design and construction of physical restoration projects.

• Preparing and maintaining a continuing record of Downtown Painesville Organization activities • Other duties as directed by Board of Directors

RECOMMENDED EMPLOYMENT QUALIFICATIONS

This position requires a Bachelor’s degree. Experience or education related to architecture, historic preservation, economics, finance, public relations, design, journalism, planning, business administration, public administration, retailing, volunteer or nonprofit administration and/or small business development preferred.

SKILLS & EXPERIENCE:

  • Experience leading teams and/or projects.
  • Strong written, oral, and organizational skills
  • High level of technical ability with strong working knowledge of computer software programssuch as desktop publishing, graphic design, website administration, and Microsoft office suite.
  • Ability to manage websites and social media content such as Facebook, Twitter
  • Experience with event planning, fundraising and government relations preferredSUPERVISIOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Responsible for managing interns and numerous volunteer groups and committees.OTHER: Some travel may be required. Drug test and background check required. Must physically be able to lift 50 pounds. Extensive walking required. Frequent weekend and evening responsibilities.Salary & Benefits TBA 

We need more myth-busting!

I’m curious: did you happen to catch Barb Powers’ presentation at our Annual Conference in Kent, Myth-Busting the National Register of Historic Places? If not, here’s the quick (very quick!) summary: myths and misinformation abound when it comes to the National Register of Historic Places, including what owners of buildings are or are not required to do with their NR-listed property.

Combating that misinformation and trying to set the record straight seems to be one of those perpetual tasks for organizations such as the SHPO and Heritage Ohio. I was just reminded this week of the ignorance being spread about the National Register when I was reading an article about Hamilton’s efforts to list their downtown in the National Register in order to access tax credit incentives (you can read the article here). While the article is factually correct, the problems happen when we get to the comments section, specifically the commenter saying “Registration prevents revitalization and requires preservation. This is a bad move… You cannot change the exterior of registered buildings. You cannot demolish older buildings to replace them with newer buildings. You can maintain a movie set for the early 20th century. But, you kill revitalization of the city when you register the buildings.”

Of course, anyone who attended Barb’s session, or who has a basic familiarity with the National Register understands that these comments are patently false. The National Register does not require building owners to preserve their buildings. Nor does it prohibit exterior changes. Nor does it prohibit demolition. Unfortunately, these voices are out there, they crop up, and they have their believers. So, our jobs, as passionate preservationists, is to make sure we take every opportunity to educate people about what the National Register does and does not do, and refute National Register ignorance when we have the opportunity.

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