Preservation credits help rehabilitate historic Lexington apartments

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- A delayed apartment renovation project in Lexington is finally closing in on the finish line.

Wellsley Robinson, of Core Properties and Development, took over Parkview Apartments on West Third Avenue in 2013.

"It is so exciting. So many years in the making and to see the buildings ready for new life, it's a labor of love," Robinson said.

The renovations of the two apartment buildings, constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, stalled when federal historic preservation tax credits ended. State historic preservation tax credits ended soon after. Without the credits, Robinson explained it would have been too expensive for developers to update the units.

"The level of disrepair is too significant," Robinson said.

When Core Properties bought Parkview Apartments 1 and 2, the ceilings were falling in, floors were missing and windows were broken. When the federal and state historic preservation tax credits returned, so did the workers.

"It's something that creates a win for the project, the community, the people that live around the building. For everyone," Robinson said.

To get the historic preservation tax credit, developers have to remain true to the building's roots. Core Properties had to replicate the same ceiling moldings, large windows and hardwood floors you would expect to find in a 1920s apartment.

In a matter of days, the 12 units in apartment building 1 will be ready for neighbors. Tammy Absher, Lexington's director of business and community development, said the city needs the additional units.

"We are very excited for the city to have these types of apartments available as options for the community as we continue to grow," Absher said.

Growing cities and towns are part of the reason why the North Carolina General Assembly is currently reviewing a bill that would extend historic preservation tax credits for 10 years. Absher explained a lot of projects in Lexington could benefit.

"Some are residential, others are industrial or commercial in nature," Absher said.

North Carolina's Historic Preservation Act of 2019 is presently in committee.

The 18 units in Parkview Apartments 2 should be finished by the end of May or early June.

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