This week’s tour of the Visitor and Education Center in Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park demonstrated the effectiveness of Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credit Financing to incentivize adaptive reuse of historic structures. The project was made possible by collaboration between Orton Development, the National Park Service, the City of Richmond, the Port of Richmond, Contra Costa County, the San Francisco Bay Trail, as well as private owners.
The Rosie the Riveter Visitor and Education center is housed in the oil house of the Ford Motor Plant built by Albert Kahn in 1932. The plant is part of a large number of buildings in the park that are associated with the home front during World War II. As a historic building, it was important for Marcy Wong, the architect for the interior space, to maintain signs of the building’s past. Among the beauty of the building’s brickwork and large windows, rust lines and graffiti gracefully attest to the period of neglect the building experienced since its closure in 1955.
The Visitor and Education Center was created through legislation that required Orton Development to provide 10,000 square feet gratis to the National Park Service. The National Park Service, however, pays for operating costs. New Market Tax Credit Financing covered approximately twenty percent of the project cost while Historic Tax Credit covered eighteen percent. The project was financed by debt and tax credits, with no equity involved.
Authored by: Miriam Aranoff, MCP Candidate at UC Berkeley