Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Struggling Wall Street Gets Another Tax Break

"It's possible that no single area tells the story of America's progression from a primarily rural nation to a diverse industrial society as well as the Wall Street Historic District," said Steven McClain, the president of the National Architectural Trust, at a ceremony in Federal Hall, the former 19th century customs house where a statue of Washington marks the site of his 1789 inauguration.

The area's present-day mixture of historic buildings, including skyscrapers ranging from early Beaux Arts to Art Deco to modern glass-walled towers, "tell us who we are as a nation," said McClain, whose organization led a campaign for the National Register designation. "This designation honors both the history and the architecture of Wall Street," he said in a telephone interview.

Unlike city or state landmark preservation laws that bar or severely limit changes in existing structures, it allows renovations or redevelopment, and provides federal tax benefits and preservation grants for some projects.

So, I guess if you are a poor little brokerage house trying to add a plasma wall to your conference room, perhaps you can apply for a tax break in order to pay for the consultants who will help you design the new multimedia room in a way that will honor the historic nature of the building. Oh, that's the building where Arthur Anderson cooked the books! Let's give them a tax break to restore it to it's past and future glory.

Seriously though, I understand preserving history. The idea of Wall Street firms getting tax breaks to remodel though doesn't go down right.