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Economic Impact Studies

Preservation Virginia is undertaking three interrelated economic impact studies that illustrate the return on investment when engaging in historic preservation. Two of the three studies are completed and available below. Please share them with your local representatives.


Click here to read the article "Economic Impact Studies: Preservation, Revitalization, Heritage Tourism" in the Virginia Association of Museum's (VAM) Winter 2015 issue of Voice.


PHASE I: Economic Impact of Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Programs in Virginia

Virginia is third in the nation in the use of historic tax credits—First study to assess economic impact of state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits in Virginia

“Without historic tax credits, our downtown would have been frozen in time.” A local official commenting on how the rehabilitation tax credit program has made a difference.

According to a study conducted for Preservation Virginia by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the rehabilitation, re-use and preservation of Virginia’s historic residential and commercial buildings is good for the commonwealth’s economy.  The study tracks compelling statistics and first-hand accounts about preservation’s benefits and the contributions across the economy—an estimated $3.9 billion to the state’s economic health. Those rehabilitation expenses and their domino effect have also created more than 31,000 full and part-time jobs during a 17-year period and generated an estimated $133 million in state and local tax revenues. 

To download a PDF of the complete study, please click here.

Preservation Virginia is grateful to Mead Westvaco for the generous grant that underwrote this study and  the support of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the efforts of the Center of Urban and Regional Development in VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. 


PHASE II: 30 Years of Impact: How the Main Street Program Has Revitalized Virginia Communities

This study documents how the Virginia Main Street Program, a downtown revitalization approach that leverages historic preservation to promote economic and community development, influences the local, state and national economy. 

“I saw Downtown South Boston going through the transition, from the place to shop to declining and a lot of businesses leaving, to where we are now, where businesses are coming back.” A focus group member commenting on the local main street program. 

VCU’s Center for Urban and Regional Development, a division of the L. Douglas Wilder Center for Government and Public Affairs conducted the study. Preservation Virginia is grateful to Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for a generous grant and its partnership in this study.

To download a PDF of the complete report, please click here.


PHASE III to be released summer 2016: The Economic Impact of Heritage Tourism in Virginia