Recession a Bittersweet Thing for Preservationists

Ironically, buildings unable to get funded for preservation due to a recession can also benefit from it: as development overall comes to a stop, so does the wrecking ball.
April 2, 2009, 5am PDT | Judy Chang
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"'There's probably no better friend to historic preservation than a good recession,' says Robert Musgraves, executive director of the nonprofit Historic Denver, Inc. 'It may not be a good thing for society, but it does tend to bring development projects to a standstill, or at least cause them to slow down a little bit. When things are going fast and furiously, it can be difficult for historic preservation organizations to keep up with the challenges and opportunities out there. A recession gives them a little breathing room.'

The teardown trend, for example, has nearly ground to a halt in many historic neighborhoods around the country, says Adrian Scott Fine, director of the northeast field office for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 'It's nothing compared to the pace of a year ago,' he says. 'The current disastrous real estate market could be good for preservation because it allows communities to be proactive and ready if and when the market returns and teardowns start up again.'"

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Published on Monday, March 30, 2009 in Architectural Record
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