Many people have heard me say: “Use is the best form of preservation.” I believe that we build ourselves into the world around us. Without our structures, sites, and buildings, we are physically and socially lost as a community. I started my career as an earthquake engineer, keeping historic buildings life-safe through seismic events. I learned that I love engineering, but it is only one small piece of the very big challenge of building reuse. From there, I started to add as many skills as I could – like policy, real estate finance, and advocacy – to create a more comprehensive toolbox for historic building redevelopment. In 2011, I started New History as an integrated consulting practice. Today, we are a national leader in historic building redevelopment.
My core convictions
Historic building redevelopment requires both a depth of specialized expertise as well as a wide breadth of general knowledge: it takes a team.
Material preservation as we practice today overlooks many people and communities. It is time for historic preservation as a field to embrace new tools and new, additional stories.
Use is the best form of preservation.
Minnesota’s historic tax credit has made a profound and positive impact on Minnesota: our state historic tax credit is the most important tool for incentivizing historic building reuse. Since 2011, the program has created 18,660 jobs and 140 successful projects, returning more than $9 in economic activity for every $1 of credit. Without immediate action, the program is due to sunset - again - in June 2022. In 2020, I worked with Winthrop & Weinstein and Rethos to form RevitalizeMN, a political coalition dedicated to retaining, extending, and improving the Minnesota State Historic Tax Credit.