The nomenclature for rehabilitation could definitely use more clarity, especially when referring to older, non-historic buildings which may not have historic or landmark status but are nonetheless viable and stable structures that have been abandoned or are simply vacant. Having a broader discussion about whether financial incentives, such as federal or state tax credits, should apply to these types of structures is really needed in the preservation community at large. Terms such as "refurbish" could be a bridge to talking more frankly about the grey area these structures occupy in the marketplace for developers and municipalities alike that are struggling with how to bring these properties back into service. Perhaps "refurbish" belongs in the category of rehabilitation terms that relate to repurposing structures for another function but, then again, the Cambridge Dictionary defines refurbish as "to make a building look new again by doing work such as painting, repairing, and cleaning" which would imply more of a cosmetic effort. Whatever term is agreed upon and used commonly in preservation, there really needs to be a sharp distinction between bringing a building up to code versus a full-on authentic historic rehabilitation, for example.
Carl Wolf | Policy Analyst, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS P. 202.588.6254
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