South Charlotte

Downtown area gets a boost

Pineville will start to experience benefits to the downtown area since being accepted into the National Register of Historic Places.

The primary benefit for business and homeowners listed on the national register is the tax credit they receive if work is done on the property.

Business owners would receive a 20 percent tax credit on both the state and federal level, and homeowners would receive a 30 percent tax credit on the state level.

Properties in the commercial district are eligible for tax credits, along with the Pineville Mill Village, a residential area in downtown that includes Park and Cone avenues and James and Fisher streets.

Another benefit of being on the register is that properties are protected from state and federal projects that may impact the integrity of the structures.

"If the DOT wanted to come in and widen highway 51 to six lanes, they couldn't just come into downtown and do it," said Mike Rose, Pineville town administrator. "They would have to go through the register and the work must be approved."

Being on the register also means renovations done to the properties would have to follow guidelines to maintain historical aspects.

The work done must be consistent with the building's original architecture.

Rose said the overall benefit for the community is the added value being on the register will bring to the area.

Rose also said he has seen an increase of activity in downtown recently.

"I can't say that it is definitely from being on the register, but it sure doesn't hurt," he said.

A consultant was hired by the town to compile the research necessary to complete the nomination application.

This included studying historical documentation and holding town meetings.

"It's a very complicated process," said Rose. "It took a long time to complete, but it was well worth it. We were so proud when we received notice we had made the list."

Rose attributes a great deal of the efforts to the Historic Landmarks Commission, which he said helped prepare the nomination that was approved in August and contributed to the nearly $5,000 consultant fee.

"They have worked closely with us since we first gave some of the buildings in our commercial district historic designation," said Rose. "We couldn't have done this without them."

Vicki Cifolelli is the owner of Pepper and Company Fresh Home Furnishings, the newest business in downtown Pineville.

The business opened in July, and although she was unaware the building was on the national register, Cifolelli said she assumed it was historic.

"It really had that small town charm I was looking for," said Cifolelli. "I thought my business might be too risky for a sleepy little town like Pineville, but once I saw the downtown area I felt right at home."

Cifolelli said she hopes being on the register will help keep customers coming in.

"We've been very busy so far and the foot traffic has really exceeded my expectations."