Abell Salutes: Jubilee Baltimore

September 2005 / Salutes / Community Development

For helping to stabilize neighborhoods by helping neighbors invest in their homes.

Richard and Ann Scanlan bought the house at 2124 Mt. Royal Terrace in Reservoir Hill about three years ago. The house cost $43,000 (all figures rounded) and they had an estimate for renovating it for $217,000. But for those repairs and renovations, they paid only $174,000—a savings of 20 percent. Helen Beckstrom also bought a house on Reservoir Hill, at 614 Reservoir St. She paid $80,000 for the house, and her estimate for repair and renovation was $93,000. But for those renovations she paid only $75,000 — $20,000 less.

These aspiring home owners realized the kinds of savings that allowed them to become homeowners because Maryland’s historic tax credit program made the homeowners eligible for a tax credit on their Maryland income tax equal to 20 percent of the rehabilitation for “Certified Heritage Structures.” For properties to be qualified to be designated on the National Register of Historic Places as a Certified Heritage Structure, capital expenditures must be in compliance with Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and consistent with a plan approved by the Maryland Historical Trust.

Jubilee Baltimore has become specialists in developing scopes of renovation work, locating contractors, managing the bidding process, and overseeing the construction in compliance with historic standards, all the while simplifying the process for the homeowner. They have helped owners renovate long-vacant houses, convert apartment buildings beck into single family houses, customize restoration and home improvement projects.

Mr. Scanlan comments, “We heard about the idea from a friend. Jubilee Baltimore handled the details of the process—they really made it easy. We’re at the beginning of new life here, and I’m looking forward to improvements in the neighborhood that we are going to need so that we can enjoy owning a home on Reservoir Hill.”

Ms. Beckstrom says, “Jubilee Baltimore made it possible for me to own my own home. Without that tax credit, I might still be paying rent. I’m now a homeowner in a neighborhood that is on its way back!”

With a focus on Reservoir Hill and Midtown, Jubilee Baltimore has helped over 50 homeowners and several commercial property owners to access the tax credits and complete historic renovation, representing new investment of more than $20,000,000. Another 54 homeowners are working with Jubilee Baltimore on the application process or are currently undertaking home renovations.

Abell Salutes Jubilee Baltimore, and its Executive Director Charlie Duff, for helping neighborhoods to stabilize by helping the neighbors to invest in their homes.