Historic Building Restoration: The Benefits Go Beyond Preservation
New York City is one of the most important historic and cultural cities in the United States. Home to some of the greatest architectural treasures in the country, it can be difficult to decide if you need new construction altogether, or restoration of a previously used building. Which option is most beneficial?
According to the U.S. Secretary of Interior, "restoration is said as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time..."
The New York Landmarks Conservancy is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in landmark preservation. Dedicated to the revitalization and reuse of the city's historically significant buildings, the Conservancy ensures that these efforts contribute to the local quality of life.
In addition to quality of life, the benefits of building restoration are threefold. It's good for the economy, the neighborhood, and even the environment.
Restoration of a building adds jobs to the economy. Just some of the professionals needed will be architects, skilled construction, real estate, banking, and perhaps even a historian. Purchasing the necessary restoration materials locally (if possible), adds even more dollars to the local economy. Other economic growth factors reach as far as grocers and restaurants; someone has to feed the restoration crew.
It's no secret that vacant buildings and empty lots have a very negative impact on property values. Restoring a building can reduce vacancy and inspire more neighborhood rehabilitation. Additionally, restoration connects individuals to their community while preserving the heritage.
Building restoration is one of the greatest eco-friendly favors to the natural environment. Construction waste is highly toxic and accounts for 20% of the solid waste stream in the United States. Recycling materials from an old building reduces construction waste and helps prevent further urban sprawl.
With the benefits to the economy, local neighborhood, and the natural environment - all supported and encouraged by the New York Landmarks Conservancy - the choice is clear: building restoration is the most beneficial option.
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Benefits of Historic Building Preservation
Many may wonder why anyone would choose historic building preservation over building something brand new. Historic building restoration provides many benefits to a community and preserves a link to the past. Preserving historic buildings can also prevent urban sprawl in many communities, as restoring existing buildings may eliminate the need to build something new.
Preservation is also an eco-friendly option. It eliminates the need for demolition and the vast amount of resources necessary for building something new from the ground up. Demolition can also release harmful toxins from older building materials into the air and soil, while renovation can be done in a safer manner to reduce exposure to these toxins. Overall, renovation reduces garbage, preserves resources, and saves money.
Historic buildings add warmth, charm, and appeal that cannot be found in more modern, stark architecture. Cities and towns with a surplus of modern buildings lose the ties to history that define the community and make it unique. Historic buildings have details, materials, and craftsmanship that cannot be found in modern architecture. Preserving these buildings not only provides a community with a link to their past, but also teaches new generations of builders about techniques used in the past that they may apply to their work today.
Restoring historic buildings can provide a much-needed face-lift to a deteriorating neighborhood, and sometimes attract investors. Tax incentives and grants can drastically cut the costs of restoration, and in many cases, investors can make a decent amount of money. Tourists LOVE historic buildings, and restoring buildings to their original splendor can create a hot spot for visitors-this means a business boom for the entire community. Depending on the function of the building, restoration can also mean new jobs for community members.
Sometimes old buildings sit for decades without being touched or used for anything at all. They become an eyesore without any function. Yet many cities face problems of overcrowded classrooms or lack of housing. Restoring these buildings solves two problems at once-it turns an eyesore into a magnificent structure, and provides a functional use to the community as well. Many historic buildings have been renovated for functional use as schools, libraries, housing units, or a site for community events.
Historical building preservation beautifies communities, attracts tourists, creates more business, and offers functional solutions to community needs. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about preserving and renovating historic buildings.Read more...