This week, the Redwood City Planning Commission will consider granting two local properties entrance into the City's Historic Property Preservation program - the beloved Fox Theatre at 2215 Broadway, and a set of adjacent multi-family homes built around the turn of the 20th century at 726-728 Brewster Avenue.
The program involves the awarding of "Mills Act" contracts.
The idea behind the Mills Act Contracts are that the properties receive significant property tax savings through the program, which allow the owners of the properties to channel more money into maintaining and preserving the properties over the long-term.
Specifically, Mills Act properties save between 40 and 60 percent of the individual assessed tax valuation of the property.
The City of Redwood City charges property taxes of just under 20 percent of 1 percent of a property's assessed value. As the approximate value of the Fox Theatre is around $6.15 million, the City stands to lose roughly $4,920 to $6,150 per year in tax revenue from the theatre.
The minimum duration for Mills Act Contracts is 10 years. Contracts renew automatically every year thereafter, and transfer in the event the property is sold to another party. In order to insure compliance with the proposed program, staff and/or the City's Historic Resources Advisory Committee conduct yearly inspections.
The program was adopted by the City Council in 1990, and to date, out of approximately 100 eligible properties, 15 have been granted Mills Act Contracts.
The Fox Theatre was built in 1928. In 1987, the City Council declared it a historic landmark. That designation will now be taken one step further with the theatre's entrance into the Mills Act Contract program.
In 1993, the Fox Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Eric and Lori Lochtefeld purchased the Fox Theatre in the summer of 2010, after the theatre was foreclosed upon by its previous owners and bought by the bank the year before.
In addition to hosting concerts, private parties, ballets, musicals and the like, the Fox Theatre has enjoyed high-profile political visitors like President Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy in the past year.
Do you think these two properties should be awarded Mills Act Contracts? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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