Developers Lament Oklahoma House Bill Looking To End Historic Tax Credits

Thursday, May 4th 2017, 11:18 pm
By: News On 6

The Mayo Hotel wasn't always so beautiful.

"People thought we were crazy when we purchased the Mayo Hotel,” said Shelby Snyder.

Snyder is President of Brickhugger, the company that bought the Mayo at its worst state and transformed it.

The company took a chance in 2001 because of Oklahoma's historic tax credits.

"If it weren't for the tax credits, there's no way it would have been economically viable for us to put it back the way it is now,” Snyder stated.

And it's not just the Mayo.

Brickhugger turned the old city hall into the Aloft Hotel, an old department store into the Vandever Lofts and most recently, it's converting the old YMCA into apartments.

Developers say the historic tax credits save them enough money to make these projects affordable. And then those properties turn around and generate a lot more revenue for the city and state.

"Sales tax, payments, liquor tax, occupancy tax, we pay payroll tax on all our employees, not to mention just the people it draws to this area,” Snyder added.

Studies show every dollar invested in a historic project generates more than $11 in return.

"I actually see the benefit of properties that have been kept alive and rehabbed, and they are now very, very profitable,” said Tulsa Preservation Commission Chair Mike Croddock.

Croddock said the historic tax credits are a short-term sacrifice with a big payoff down the line.

"Not only does it bring old buildings to life, it keeps our history alive,” he added. It provides a huge revenue boost to the state of Oklahoma.”

We asked the bill's author, Representative Leslie Osborn, how much money this bill would save the state but we have not yet heard back.