Historic preservation and real estate development have often been viewed as being at cross-purposes. This course sought to debunk that notion by demonstrating examples of how historic preservation, at the building and district scales and with a focus on cities, creates unique, authentic and appealing places that offer competitive advantages over their competition. Integrating preservation into new urban place-making efforts often generates significant real estate value and therefore can be an important component of developer’s real estate investment strategies.
Through class lectures, case studies, team assignments, field trips and guest lectures from other experts in real estate, planning and design, the course explored the various ways historic preservation-guided development projects are planned and executed and the roles and responsibilities of and interactions between involved public agencies and private development players. Various tools for financing projects were explored including easements, state and federal historic preservation tax credits and municipal bond financing. Public-private real estate development projects analyzed included affordable housing, commercial development, adaptive re-use of industrial structures, urban retail and others. Students gained an understanding of what motivates private parties to pursue preservation projects as sound and predictable investment opportunities, the toolkit of incentives that can be deployed, and the role that the government plays in this process.