The Economic Benefits of Preserving Philadelphia's Past
On November 19, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia released The Economic Benefits of Preserving Philadelphia's Past. The report, written and researched by Donovan D. Rypkema and Katherine M. Wiehagen, outlines some of the economic dividends that come from the preservation of the city's historic buildings, streets, and landscapes. The follwing is a brief overview of the findings.
- Since 1978, $1.5 billion has been invested in the rehabilitation of 874 historic commercial properties, resulting in the creation of 55,000 jobs and the generation of $1.3 billion in household income.
- Nearly 10,000 housing units have been rehabilitated, many of them for low and moderate-income families. In addition, private investment in real estate has contributed to a new vitality present in the older neighborhoods.
- Rehabilitating an historic structure creates two more jobs than new construction. This circulates more money into the economy as more people are employed, who then feed their families, and buy more goods and services.
- Developers are currently investing over $500 million to convert 6 Center City landmarks into hotels.
- Nearly 83% of Center City businesses employ fewer than 20 people, making small historic buildings appropriate locations for those operations. The wealth of such structures provides an extant resource which can be a vital part of the city's economy.
- According to surveys, the city's rich history is the strongest asset in attracting visitors. Heritage visitors have a larger fiscal impact on the economy than the typical tourist, spending more money and staying longer.
- Philadelphia's historic resources attract Hollywood filmmakers to produce movies here, benefiting the local economy with increased revenues for services such as hotel rooms, jobs, catering and equipment rental.
- Historic neighborhoods are more stable in comparison with Philadelphia as a whole, losing fewer residents. They are diverse in ethnicity, income and educational levels. Historic neighborhoods also attract 15% of the people moving from the suburbs and 21% moving from other areas.
- Neighborhood commercial revitalization along preservation strategies is already seeing promising results in Philadelphia's Frankford Main Street, under the auspices of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street program. 7 new businesses, 109 full-time jobs, and $240,000 of investment for the purchase and rehabilitation of two buildings are some of the early results of preservation-based revitalization strategies.
Taken from The Economic Benefits of Preserving Philadelphia's Past, produced by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
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