Rod Boshart
Published: February 4 2014 | 1:34 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:09 am in

Developers looking for some extra incentive fix up abandoned schools and other neglected public buildings could get state tax credits under legislation that passed through a House subcommittee Tuesday. House Study Bill 540 expands the state’s $10 million brownfield and grayfield program to include abandoned public buildings where it used to include only industrial and commercial development. It’s an idea Gov. Terry Branstad touted in his Condition of the State address as a way to change neglected properties into new businesses. The bill allows for redevelopment of the properties into new industrial or commercial uses. The tax credits could also be used to demolish old buildings. “It couldn’t be a pure takedown and put up a ‘For Sale’ sign,” said Tim Whipple, the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s legislative liaison. “You can demolish if you’re going to redevelop the property.” The bill also gives the authority more say over who receives tax credits by changing the current first-come-first-served process to a review. “I like the program,” said State Rep. Ron Jorgensen, R-Sioux City, who chaired the subcommittee. “I like the results we’ve seen, the potential of adding some of these buildings. It’s tough sometimes to find tenants for those buildings.” The bill now moves on to a full committee.

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