Urges support from St. Louis’ regional Congressional Delegation for new legislation promoting the conversion of excess office space to residential units and mixed-use businesses

Greater St. Louis, Inc. today announced its support for newly introduced federal legislation designed to revitalize downtowns and urban districts across the country. The Revitalizing Downtowns Act would establish a new federal tax credit to support the conversion of obsolete and excess office spaces into residential or mixed-use properties. Greater St. Louis, Inc. also announced its membership in a national coalition advocating for the legislation and working to reenergize downtown areas nationwide.

“As the STL 2030 Jobs Plan noted, no growing metro area can succeed without a strong, thriving downtown and a growing urban core,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “Restoring the core of St. Louis as the jobs and cultural center of the metro is a critical action strategy for us, and the Revitalizing Downtowns Act will help us advance this effort.”

As part of its work to lead the region on inclusive economic growth and shape the broader national policy dialogue to strengthen the regional commitment to Downtown, Greater St. Louis, Inc. signed on as a member of a new coalition of 37 national and regional economic development organizations called Revitalize Our Cities (ROC) that is working to reenergize American cities.

“It is great to see such newly energized civic leadership in St. Louis,” said Jared Fleisher, Vice President for Government Affairs for Rock Central, which is based in Detroit and is a founding member of the coalition. “Detroit and St. Louis face similar challenges, and we want to thank Greater St. Louis, Inc. for being such an active partner in the Revitalize Our Cities Coalition. There is great opportunity in each of our cities and we appreciate being able to partner with Greater St. Louis, Inc. to revitalize downtowns across the country.”

Introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan, and in the U.S. House by Representatives Jimmy Gomez (Calif.), Dan Kildee (Mich.), and John Larson (Conn.), the Revitalizing Downtowns Act establishes the Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit (QOCTC). Modeled after the successful Historic Tax Credit, the QOCTC provides a credit equal to 20% of qualified conversion expenses in converting obsolete office buildings into residential, commercial, or mixed-use properties. Qualifying residential conversion would also be required to incorporate affordable housing.

Said Stabenow in introducing the bill: “As our workplaces change because of the COVID-19 crisis, we will see more unused buildings in our downtowns. Converting these buildings to residential and mixed-use properties will benefit families and our cities. Our bill will help with this transition, support the economic growth of our cities, help small businesses and provide people affordable places to live.”

Greater St. Louis, Inc. has begun proactive outreach to the region’s congressional delegation in support of the legislation, which will benefit not only St. Louis, but also downtowns and Main Streets all across Missouri and Illinois.

“This is an important, structural policy change that will bring needed support to Downtown St. Louis, and we hope the members of our regional congressional delegation will add their support to this vital piece of legislation,” added Hall.