Twelve aging but historically important structures, including the Protective Life Building in Birmingham, Merchants National Bank Building in Mobile and the Pratt Continental Gin in Prattville, will get new life thanks to the latest iteration of a state historic tax credit program.
The Alabama Historical Commission listed the latest projects approved for the special tax credit in early March. The 2017 Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit offers a 25 percent tax credit to private homeowners and owners of commercial properties who substantially rehabilitate historic properties that are listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and are 60 years old or older.
The Protective Life Building, also known as the Commerce Center, will be reincarnated into a 96-room luxury hotel similar to the Redmont Hotel, according to Rhaglan Hospitality CEO Jim Lewis. Rhaglan Hospitality has sought another $2.5 million for the renovation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Besides serving at one point as the home of Protective Life, the 71, 000-square-foot building also housed the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
It dates to the 1920s.
The historic tax credits generate jobs, increase the tax base and help the state to reclaim some of its most important architecture. The total amount allocated to the 12 approved projects in this year’s program is $12 million. The program was first used in 2013 and has been credited with saving more than 50 buildings.
The 12 projects approved in March, their city and the tax credits allocated are: Protective Life Building, Birmingham, $5 million; Pratt Continental Gin, Prattville, $5 million; Merchants National Bank, Mobile, $5 million; Family Service Laundry Building, Birmingham, $1.6 million; Howell School, Dothan, $1.5 million; St. James Hotel, Selma, $1 million; Fain Theatre, Wetumpka, $221, 250; Martin Building, Birmingham, $182, 182; Womack’s Hardware, Monroeville, $147, 341; Kennedy-Foster House, Tuscaloosa, $62, 000; Foote-Heisterhagen House, Mobile, $50, 000; Lyons Building, Mobile, $37, 500.
Still on the 14-item waiting list are the Merchants & Manufacturers Warehouse, the Martin Building and the Armour & Company Building in Birmingham and the Seaman’s Club Building and Tower on Ryan Park in Mobile.
Text by Dave Helms