Home > News > Celebrate Preservation and its Economic Impact

Celebrate Preservation and its Economic Impact

May is National Preservation Month. For us, every month is preservation month. But it is important to highlight the benefits, especially at a time when preservation is under the gun.

The National Park Service releases annual reports on the use of the National Historic Tax Credits. New York State is always the biggest user. Between 2019 and 2023, 504 New York projects leveraged more than $4.9 billion in private investment. The credits are often paired with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

New York State’s Homeowners Rehabilitation Credit has created 21,929 housing units since 2010, and 8,542 of those were for low- and moderate-income residents.

Two separate economic studies we commissioned show that preservation in the City has created over 5,000 local jobs and attracts tourists. Tech companies favor older buildings and historic districts, and preservation enhances our overall quality of life.

There have always been critics who claim preservation is blocking development—though only 5% of the City’s land is under landmark regulation. The attacks have been increasing.

The Faith-Based Affordable Housing Act in Albany initially proposed exempting landmark religious buildings from landmark regulation and local zoning laws if they were creating affordable housing. The bill has been amended after pushback from the Conservancy and colleague groups. However, the Senate and Assembly have different amendments and it’s still not clear if landmarks will be protected. The bill was written by Open New York, a group promoting housing and hostile to landmarking and many local laws. The amended bills are still intentionally fuzzy.

Some elected officials have slammed the bill for overriding local zoning. There is also a constitutional question about favoring one group with legal exemptions. The bill remains in committee in each house and we continue to monitor it.

All 1,400 pages of the Mayor’s “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” proposal is now starting the public review process. It proposes massive changes to the City’s zoning code while claiming it promotes “a little more housing” everywhere. We have a zoning and planning expert helping us understand the implications for historic districts. But neighborhoods everywhere need to understand the changes this could bring. The premise is that more housing will create more affordable housing. A recent study of tremendous growth in Jersey City, and the relatively few affordable units created, is worth noting.

As we celebrate Preservation Month, you might also enjoy learning how Persian Gulf Cities who erased their history for glass towers now envy a neighbor who chose to preserve some of its past. Read the Bloomberg article here. New York should never make the same mistake.

Peg Breen, President
The New York Landmarks Conservancy

Support Us


Your donation helps us expand our reach and be your voice for preservation.

Make A Donation

Become A Member

Join the Conservancy and be part of our mission to save New York’s extraordinary architectural heritage.

Join Us

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our free E-Newsletter, informative alerts, our monthly Mystery Landmark contest, and our monthly Tourist in Your Own Town video series.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: New York Landmarks Conservancy. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact