Riverside Plaza gains historic status

The move allows building owners to use tax credits to fund renovation.

Andrew Johnson

The Riverside Plaza housing complex is now a historic structure, opening the door to the use of tax credits to help fund renovation projects.

Located on the West Bank on Riverside Avenue, the 15-building site was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places despite not having reached the usual 50-year criterion. It was completed in 1974.

What ultimately convinced reviewers to award Riverside Plaza the distinction was that it was viewed as a culturally important structure. The nomination form cites it as âÄúa well-preserved, nationally significant example of urban development in the last half of the 20th century.âÄù

Designed by Ralph Rapson, the UniversityâÄôs head of architecture for 30 years, the complex was originally called Cedar Square West. It was also the first project to receive funding under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prevented âÄúdiscrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.âÄù

The National Register of Historic PlaceâÄôs acknowledgment took place on Dec. 28, but its benefits were beginning to be felt last week.

Riverside Plaza received $28.9 million in federal and state tax credits due to its recent status and it will go towards a $132 million renovation project.

Developer George Sherman sold the tax credits to investors to go towards funding construction. The project is expected to be completed in about two years.