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Development Strategies updates findings on the economic impact of historic preservation

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 | 9:59 p.m. CDT; updated 7:03 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 2, 2012

COLUMBIA — At a meeting Tuesday evening, consultant firm Development Strategies presented findings from the second phase of a study about the economic impact of preserving historic buildings in Columbia.

Historic preservation positively impacts the economy because money spent to rehabilitate and operate the buildings becomes income for employees, said Robert Lewis, principal of Development Strategies. Those employees then use that income to support their households, which benefits local retailers, movie theaters, banks and other businesses, he said.

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Over the past decade, 43,150 jobs and $2.9 billion in private investment can be linked to historic preservation efforts in Missouri, according to an executive summary of the study. Property values in historic districts can increase 10 to 30 percent if they are designated as historic.

There is a lot of money being spent to preserve historic buildings in downtown Columbia, Lewis said.

The Tiger Hotel, Columbia Hall at Stephens College and the Matthews Building on Broadway are examples of projects the firm intends to highlight as "case studies" of historic buildings, according to the summary.

The Historic Preservation Commission, which commissioned Development Strategies to conduct the study, received a $20,000 grant for the research, including $8,000 from the city of Columbia, said city planner Rachel Bacon.

The four-phase study began in February, and the third phase is scheduled to be completed in mid-June.


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