Historic Brownsville buildings could bring new tourism and money

Brownsville city officials want to ensure that some of the city’s past stays around for future generations. Some buildings located downtown will now be able to attract new tourism and business dollars.

Portions of downtown Brownsville have officially been recognized by the state of Texas as a historic area.

City officials in Brownsville want to make sure some of the city's past stays around for future generations.

That is why some buildings dating back hundreds of years ago, will now be able to attract new tourism and business dollars to the downtown area.

Downtown property owners will now benefit from a 20 percent federal tax credit to rehabilitate income-producing buildings, plus another 25 percent in state tax credit.

"That's a huge amount of money to rehab and maintain a building," said Juan Velez, Brownsville’s Historic Preservation Officer.

The streets of downtown Brownsville are lined with discount retailers and second-hand clothing stores. With tax credits, property owners will find a bargain themselves. The city says, they will be able to invest in upkeeping their property

Larry Lof, owner of Olvera Building at Market Square says, “It’s something that will serve as an economic driver in the future.”

City officials say, more tourists will want to visit and spend their money downtown. The tax credits could also bring a wider variety of businesses.

Miriam Suarez, Brownsville’s Downtown District Manager, says that this does not mean there are going to be additional regulations.

The area considered historic is between East Levee, East 10th, East Monroe, and East 15th Streets.

"Each building has a story. Each building tells part of our legacy and part of our history," adds Lof.

The city hopes that legacy will mean dollar signs for the city.

For more information on the downtown historic district, call Brownsville’s Planning and Development Department at 956-548-6150.

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