The Municipal Light and Water Plant of the City of Austin (Austin Power Plant) is an iconic property located on the Cedar River in the center of Austin, Minnesota. The site presents a major economic development opportunity for a small community. However, industrial sites are challenging preservation projects since the sites are usually large, often with little noticeable architectural significance, and typically see multiple changes or additions over time to the buildings, which may obscure historic features. The economic viability of this project depended on access to Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, which are only available to properties eligible for, or already listed in, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
PVN worked with a private developer to determine the feasibility of this industrial site for redevelopment for retail and multi-family housing. PVN provided a phased approach to match the overall project in terms of timing and investment of resources. The first step consisted of a preliminary analysis of the property’s potential historic significance and current integrity. This allowed the client to make a small initial investment while the uncertainty regarding the viability of the site for redevelopment was high.
The Austin Power Plant was determined to be eligible for the NRHP—making redevelopment possible. PVN’s unique business model—combining preservation design with historical research and consulting—provides a high value to challenging redevelopment projects like the Austin Power Plant.