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Mo. Theatre seeks donations from companies

The Missouri Theatre is eligible for about $2 million in tax credits to restore the historic property.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:51 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If you’re a corporation looking for a way to help support the arts in mid-Missouri, the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts has got a deal for you.

The Missouri Symphony Society, which owns the theater, recently received word that it is eligible for an estimated $2 million in federal and state tax credits to help with the theater’s rehabilitation. The total renovation will cost an estimated

$6.6 million, and the tax credits will help with about a third of the cost, said Executive Director David A. White III.

“It’s time we take better care of the old girl,” said Deb Sheals, historic preservation consultant for the renovation. “These investment tax credits will be good for the theater and the community.”

The goal of investment tax credits is to spur economic growth by encouraging investment in renovation projects, said Jay Burchfield of Wilgate Development LLC, a consultant who will help negotiate the sale of the credits.

“There is a new sense of confidence in the project,” said Axie Hindman, co-chair of the theater’s capital campaign committee. “It will become a wonderful place to learn and practice the arts.”

The theater applied for the credits from the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service in July and was approved in October, Sheals said. For approval, buildings must be on the National Register of Historical Places. The Missouri Theatre has been on the register since 1979.

The Architects Alliance of Jefferson City prepared the historic preservation plans, which found that approximately $6 million of the total renovation costs qualified for the 20 percent federal historic tax credit and 25 percent state historic tax credit, Burchfield said. The combined credits will make up the estimated $2 million.

Corporations, which have more money than individuals in most cases, traditionally seek and bid on federal and state historic tax credits to lighten their tax burden, Sheals said. The credits work like a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the amount the holder owes in taxes.

The theater is now working with a historical tax broker, the National Trust Community Investment Corporation of Washington, D.C., and Burchfield to prepare documents to send out to potential credit buyers, White said.

The tax credits are not available for investors to use until the project is completed and signed off by the park service and the state, Burchfield said.

“But if the investors commit to buy the credits or make the investment, this helps getting construction loans because at the end, there will be a $2 million investment,” he said.

White said the tax credits will help with the rehabilitation of what’s already there but not what’s being added.

That includes the exterior, front facade on Locust, auditorium, dressing rooms, Locust Street lobby, the grand foyer, mezzanine, balcony, stage and basement

White said. “It basically pertains to anything you currently see on the property.”


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