Two Midlands lawmakers have introduced a bill that would help lower development costs of the Bull Street property in downtown Columbia.
The bill would offer a 25 percent state income tax credit to developers who spend at least $500,000 to develop a building that has been abandoned for at least five years. Developers can then sell those tax credits for profit to large corporations.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. James Smith, D-Richland, and Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, is similar to a bill last year that would have applied only to abandoned government buildings. That bill failed because developers were worried it would give government buildings an unfair advantage over private buildings.
This bill would apply to any building that at least 66 percent of it has been abandoned for five years. It would only apply for commercial projects, which would include things like apartment complexes.
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It would apply to developers who want to remodel a building or demolish a building to build a new structure. But Smith said he is not worried about the tax credit leading to the demolish of historic structures, noting that the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation supports the bill.
Smith said developers of historic buildings could use the tax credit with an existing tax credit for historic structures.
The Bull Street property -- 181 acres off Bull Street in downtown Columbia -- was once owned by the state Department of Mental Health. It is home to a number of historic buildings that have been abandoned for years. Greenville developer Bob Hughes is working on a plan to develop the property that calls for up to 3,550 residences and possibly a baseball park.
-- Adam Beam