Dear Media and Friends,

There has been much talk about the potential economic impact of historic tax credits on National Register districts in Texas, much like the ones that the County is planning to create in Downtown and the Segundo Barrio.

It so happens that the Texas Historic Commission just released its first report since 2015 on the historic tax credit in Texas. It covers the period from January 1, 2015 through August 31, 2020. According to the attached report, the credit, which can pay for up to 25% of the cost of restoring contributing buildings within National Register Historic Districts, has benefited 45 Texas cities. Here are some of the new facts:

1. Since 2015, 243 tax-credit-supported projects have been completed, generating over $2.6 billion in private investment. More than 175 projects are currently pending, promising to generate approximately $2 billion more.

2. These projects have created 54,000 Texas jobs, with $3.2 billion in wages and earned income.

3. These projects have produced $181.6 million in local taxes (not including property tax impact).

4. The tax credit has added $4 billion to the Texas gross domestic product.

In addition to the Texas historic tax credit, there is also the federal tax credit, which can pay for up to 20% of the cost of restoring contributing buildings within National Register Historic Districts. Here are some of the latest figures available:

1. Since 1976, more than 45,000 historic properties through the US have utilized this credit, leveraging $174 billion in private investment and generating more than 2.8 million jobs.

2. In fiscal year 2019 alone, 1,042 projects were completed nationally, representing $6.4 billion in rehabilitation investment, with another 1,317 projects that have been approved.

When combining the Texas and federal tax credits, up to 45% of the hard and soft costs of renovation can be paid for without using a dime of City or County funds.

El Paso is far behind other Texas cities, many of which have had a downtown National Register historic district for years. So far, El Paso private investors have used the tax credits for only a handful of downtown buildings, including for properties owned by Paul Foster, Stuart Meyers, and Lane Gaddy.

Now that the County is poised to establish a National Register district in our downtown, a small group of local developers has spearheaded an effort to cancel this project, which has been in the works for years, purportedly because they fear they will be regulated by an obscure 2006 City ordinance that has never been enforced.


This evening, Richard Dayoub and I will be guests of Saul Saenz on ABC-7 XTRA on Channel 7 at 10:30pm. The topic is the proposed downtown National Register historic district and recent opposition to it. It will be an interesting show.