Investing in Utah’s Historic Sites Pays Big Dividends, Study Contends

Utah’s job market has seen major improvement during the past years but there is a particular sector that has captured the attention of investors across the U.S. A new study regarding the manner in which the state has used its resources to invest in the preservation of historic buildings and sites throughout Utah revealed the economic effect of this “backward”-thinking model. Deseret News recently reported on the study conducted by PlaceEconomics for the Utah Heritage Foundation. Apparently, around seven thousand jobs are created annually by the heritage sector of the state’s tourism industry, directly and indirectly.

Utah’s job market has shown major improvement during the few years, but the contribution of one real estate-related niche to this recovery may still be under-appreciated. A study of the state’s use of resources for the preservation of historic buildings and sites appears to reveal the value of this “backward”-thinking strategy.

Deseret News recently reported on the study, which was  conducted for the Utah Heritage Foundation by PlaceEconomics. The consulting firm concluded that about 7,300 jobs are created directly or indirectly by the heritage sector of the state’s tourism industry each year. Nearly 5,000 jobs were created between 1990 and 2012 by federal and state historic tax credits.

The effect of the heritage sites on tourism is also evident. Each year, rehabilitated buildings and sites draw 7.2 million   visitors, who spend about $400 million.

PlaceEconomics estimates that every $1 million invested in the rehab of historic buildings creates 17.7 new jobs. That $1 million investment generates around $100,000 in economic activity, as well as $34,217 in state sales tax, indirect business tax and indirect salary and wages.