Restoring Tax Credits = Revitalization for Businesses and Housing in Rocky Mount, NC

Could Rocky Mount become the next “wine country” stop off the interstate? Well, maybe not “wine country,” but could Rocky Mount become a future hotspot for microbreweries, craft ales and beer gardens? Could there be a future where tourists traveling along I-95 would stop at the Rocky Mount exit to take a short excursion to tour independent breweries?

NC Governor Pat McCrory said he could picture this and other possibilities of a bright future for Rocky Mount--- particularly with the recent development of the Brewmill project.

What Does The Tax Credit Mean For Revitalization?

While the Brewmill project was already approved before historic tax credits  were stopped, it will be difficult for similar projects and visions to take hold without reinstating the historic tax credit. Governor McCrory visited Rocky Mount on Feb. 13 and toured the area’s renovation success stories, including the Douglas Block in downtown Rocky Mount. The visit was used to draw attention to the importance of  tax credits that encourage economic development by providing additional incentive to restore older, historic buildings. The credits expired at the end of 2014, and McCrory wants to bring them back. Many developers have also used these tax credits to transform these older buildings into loft apartments or shopping areas.  (You can read more about the tax credits in this article that, by the way, mentions Rocky Mount. )  

McCrory’s message was simple: The  historic tax credits have helped breathe economic life into empty buildings across North Carolina. In addition, when a city center is renovated, it is much easier to attract larger industries and businesses.  Restoring this historic preservation tax credit was a highlight in McCrory’s “State of the State” address. The Governor said that this preservation tax credit can help revitalize main streets and town centers.  Since 1998, these tax credits have brought $1.5 billion in private investment dollars to North Carolina, and these projects have taken place in 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and have frequently attracted out-of-state investors.

North Carolina may also face competition from neighboring states that also offer historic tax incentives at a rate equal to or higher than that of North Carolina – particularly Virginia, which has a large number of completed historic tax credit projects. In Nash and Edgecombe counties alone, the tax credits contributed $35 million worth of investments, according to an article in the Rocky Mount Telegram.

While in town, the Governor visited the site of the Rocky Mount Brewmill project, the Bath Place artisanal soap store in the historic Douglas Block of downtown Rocky Mount, and the Imperial Centre. All of these projects were beneficiaries of the historic tax credit.

During a press conference at the Imperial Centre, McCrory  said that revitalization was a process that spreads block-by-block, and these renovations will help attract other economic development opportunities. The governor even hinted—not mentioning specifics--- that Rocky Mount is being considered for a  major industry.

Want to help revitalize Rocky Mount, NC? Sign a petition calling for the reinstatement of the historic tax credit program by visiting: 

Watch this short recap of the governor's visit.

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