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The economic impact of preserving the past

Thanks to several local tax credits, historic homes and buildings in the Columbia area are being revived to generate revenue and beautify the area for years to come.


Spotted Salamander on Richland Street was renovated in a Landmark District. | Photo provided by Historic Columbia

National Historic Preservation Month isn’t just about honoring our architectural ancestry — it’s about recognizing Columbia’s success in turning history into economic opportunity and reviving community pride in historic places. From preserving ghost signs to reviving iconic spaces, here are some of the ways our city is preserving the past while building for the future.

Impact by the numbers

  • Economic revitalization: The utilization of the Bailey Bill has spurred over 210 projects and mobilized more than $217 million in private investment towards the renovation of historic properties.
  • Heritage tourism: Travelers visiting historical or cultural sites drew over 2.2 million visitors to the Capital City. This helped sustain 7,000 jobs and generate $37 million in tax revenues.
  • Property values: On average, properties in Columbia’s Architectural Conservation Districts are valued at $63,000 more than properties elsewhere in the city.

From the skylights to the floors, The Flutter Wing from Hotel Trundle highlights its history. | Photo by COLAtoday

Impact examples

  • McCants School — Built in 1931, Fannie McCants Elementary, named after Columbia High School’s first librarian, was adaptively reused as townhomes in Earlwood Park using an Abandoned Building Tax Credit.
  • Hotel Trundle — Thanks to help from the Bailey Bill, the downtown boutique hotel revived three buildings built between 1914 and 1940, with many of the historic features like exposed brick walls still on display. In 2019, it was recognized in the Adapt Opportunity Zone Awards.
  • Curtiss-Wright Hangar — Built in 1929 and listed on the National Register in 1998, this historic hangar at Owen’s Field was transformed into a Hunter Gatherer Brewery in 2017 thanks to a Federal Historic Rehabilitaon Tax Credit.
  • Historic homes — For homes with historic features, the Bailey Bill can be used for expenses like the removal of non-historic materials + features, plumbing, roofing, structural work, heating and cooling systems, wiring, and more.

If you’re looking to be more involved with Cola’s history and preservation efforts, you can attend the upcoming Randolph Cemetary hands-on workshop on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Or, come to the Lunch and Learn for the recent preservation economic impact study on Wednesday, May 8 from 12-1 p.m. in the Pastor’s Study at 1633 Main St.