$4 million in historic tax credits awarded to 2 Dubuque projects

Two Dubuque projects were awarded about $4 million in historic preservation tax credits on Wednesday.

About $2.57 million was awarded to Straka Johnson Architects P.C. for a project putting 48 apartments into the former Kretschmer Manufacturing building at 220 E. Ninth St.

The funds came via the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. It provides a tax incentive to those considering working on a historic property to rehabilitate the space with some historical features intact.

Straka Johnson owner Marty Johnson said the former Kretschmer Manufacturing building was built in 1910. Straka Johnson is the lead architect on the project, which is also headed by Tim Conlon, president and CEO of Conlon Construction.

“We’ve been pursuing that project for close to three years,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long process, but we’re excited about it.”

Work on the building began at the beginning of the year and is expected to take another six to 10 months, he said. The apartments will be loft-style, he said, and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be available. Future residents also will be able to enjoy a rooftop deck, an atrium and large skylight structures.

Tax credits worth about $1.45 million were awarded to Woodward Communications Inc., the parent company of the Telegraph Herald, for a major rehabilitation of its building at 801 Bluff St.

The structure was built nearly 91 years ago and has undergone several major remodels, as well as multiple minor ones, over that time as the company has evolved, noted company CEO and President Tom Woodward. He said via email that “we are now at a point for a significant remodel.”

“Our vision is to not only remodel the building to align with our organizational needs but to transform it into a multi-tenant use facility,” he wrote. “With ample on-site parking and over 20,000 square feet of leasable professional space, we are excited about the possibilities and opportunities this presents, including the preservation of this historic building.”

In all, the Iowa EDA awarded a total of $20.5 million in credits to 12 of the 21 applicants statewide.

“The intent of the program is so we can maintain our history. The historic structures are part of our path,” said Dan Hansen, project manager for the state Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. “It’s cheaper to look at demolition or modernization versus doing a rehabilitation, so the incentivization ensures that we’re going to go in this direction.”

He added that the statewide program typically offers $42 million annually for tax credit projects and that total is spread over two rounds of awarded funding. Those who didn’t receive funding in this first round can apply again in October, he said.

Other projects awarded tax credit funds include four projects in Des Moines, two in Davenport and one project each in Clinton, Grundy Center, Keosauqua and Sioux City.