The council approved a permanent, 100 percent tax abatement for commercial structures whose owners accept "protected landmark" status for the buildings. Owners would have to refund any tax savings, with interest, if they tore down the building or altered its facade.
The measure also adds a five-year "lookback" provision to a more limited tax break approved in 2001 to owners who make improvements to residential buildings designated as landmarks or contribute to a historical district. Under the change approved Wednesday, owners could receive tax breaks for improvements they made as long as five years before the building was designated historic.
White said his staff has identified 50 to 100 commercial properties that qualify for the protected landmark tax break. Most are of modest size with relatively low tax values, meaning revenues lost to the city would be minimal, he said.
Councilwoman Addie Wiseman cast the lone vote against the measure.