By Scott Halasz
XENIA — The Litt Brothers Building, better known as Xenia Shoe & Leather, was one of 18 buildings to receive Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits, the state development services agency announced Tuesday.
The credits will allow the owner, Tim Sontag, to move forward with his plan to convert the upper floors of the building on East Main Street into five low-income apartments. The project is estimated to cost $828,942 and when completed, Sontag will be able to use $183,714 in special tax write-offs for eligible expenses.
“It’s really amazing,” Sontag said. “I feel very, very fortunate. Very appreciative of the City of Xenia. They’ve been so supportive. This process, we couldn’t have done without them.”
Sontag and city officials hope the conversion of the two floors into one- and two-bedroom apartments will help continue the downtown revitalization. Because the building is part of the Xenia historic district and is listed on the national registry, it is eligible for the tax credits, which are making the project feasible.
“Xenia’s downtown is critical to us historically and now,” Mayor Marsha Bayless said. “Rents (Currently) don’t match renovation costs. None of us … have the resources to bring downtown Xenia back (alone).”
Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and Sontag hopes it’s completed in late 2017 or early 2018.
“Xenia has a little present under their Christmas tree,” State Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London) said. “This is a great public/private partnership.”
In all, the latest round of credits cover 33 historic buildings in 12 communities and are expected to bring approximately $225.6 million in private investment in those areas.
“A community’s historic buildings make it unique,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “Giving a building new life honors the history of the building, while creating construction jobs in the short term and opportunity for economic activity into the future.”
Cities granted the credits include major players Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, and smaller towns like Tiffin, Kent, Delaware and Xenia.
“We’re proof that even a small city like Xenia can be successful in obtaining historic tax credits,” Bayless said.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office. The State Historic Preservation Office determines if a property qualifies as a historic building and that the rehabilitation plans comply with the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.