Gifts of Real Estate

Those of us who love this city want to see its treasures handed down intact to the next generation. But how can we ensure that irreplaceable resources are preserved beyond our own lifetime? One answer is to create a legacy by making a gift of historic real estate to Cincinnati Preservation Association.

Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) has been instrumental in preserving many of this region’s beloved landmarks – Union Terminal, Memorial Hall, and Old St. George, to name a few. The organization is less well known as the guardian of privately owned historic homes.

By making a gift of a historic property to CPA, donors may ensure its preservation and benefit CPA’s preservation efforts. What’s more, the transfer can provide significant tax savings to the donor.

Although the association is uniquely qualified to accept such gifts, we are always pleased when you remember us with other outright or planned gifts of cash, securities, or property.

Who should give?
Great wealth is not a requirement for meaningful philanthropy. Planned giving is the key. In recent years, CPA has collaborated with a number of foresighted individuals and families who wished to advance local preservation efforts – and achieve tax savings.

Benefits to preservation
These foresighted people preserved the places they loved, and they also made generous donations to the preservation cause. CPA will sold these properties with provisions that their historic character be maintained in perpetuity. Proceeds from the sales enabled CPA to expand essential programs and assist in the development of much-needed new ones.

Services performed by CPA
When a gift of real estate is made, CPA explores its potential use by the Association. If that is not feasible, the property is sold with a perpetual preservation covenant. The covenant requires all subsequent owners to protect the property. It prohibits exterior alterations and additions that are not in keeping with the property’s historic and architectural character. It may restrict land use and protect open space as well.

Tax benefits to donors
The tax benefits available for gifts of appreciated real estate are virtually identical to those for gifts of appreciated securities. The donor:

  • Avoids capital gains tax on the profit.
  • Receives an income tax charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the property contributed.

A gift of real estate to the Cincinnati Preservation Association may take a number of forms, such as:

  • An outright lifetime gift.
  • A specific bequest in your will.
  • A gift in a testamentary trust (established by your will) that provides deferred benefits to CPA and immediate income to your heirs.

CPA will be happy to answer any questions you or your financial advisers might have about the organization and its do-nor programs. Naming and memorial opportunities are available.

Contact the director, by phone (513) 721-4506, or by e-mail,

More about Gifts of Real Estate

The Specific Bequest
A will is the most common form of planned giving, and a bequest in one’s will is the most traditional way to assist charitable causes. A specific bequest in a will is a simple way for individuals to give a historic property. Specific bequests may also leave to CPA a designated sum, a particular stock, or personal property.

A codicil, drafted by your attorney, may be added to your will to detail the specific gift. But it is always wise to advise CPA of your plans. One advantage is that we are able to discuss and fully understand your wishes, and even to recognize your generosity in your lifetime.

Outright Gifts
A donor who has an unneeded historic home or property may decide to give it to CPA in their lifetime. We will be happy to talk with you about this kind of outright gift. Your attorney or financial adviser will be able to calculate your personal tax advantages.

Gifts Subject to Life Estate
An individual may use a personal residence to provide a gift to CPA, but retain his or her use of the property. This was the method Mr. and Mrs. Wessel used. CPA has guidelines governing acceptance of properties in this manner, which we will be happy to share.

Testamentary Trusts
A donor may use a will to establish a testamentary trust with an asset, which will go to CPA at the donor’s death, but with an arrangement whereby all or a portion of the income goes to help family members in their lifetime. Such a deferred gift provides your beneficiaries with the investment and management expertise of a trustee. At their death, CPA has full use of the income as well as the asset. This gift vehicle can yield significant estate tax savings.

Life Income Trusts
If you wish to use the real estate to fund life-income plans for yourself or your heirs, there are ways to accomplish this.

You give the appreciated asset to CPA, which usually sells it and invests the proceeds. Investment income, either a fixed dollar amount (annuity trust) or percentage (unitrust) is then paid to you or your designated beneficiary. At your death, our benefit can be deferred while lifetime income is paid to a family member. You may also elect to direct payments of trust income to CPA during your lifetime, thereby qualifying for a charitable deduction on your annual income tax.

Tax savings are usually important in planning a charitable gift. But the greatest satisfaction is knowing you have established a legacy and helped ensure the vitality of the programs of the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

Previous Gifts of Real Estate

Jones-the-Florist Building
Cincinnati Preservation Association has been given the former Jones-the-Florist Building at 1037 East McMillan Street in the Walnut Hills business district. Property owner Jo Lynn Gustin offered the building to CPA in October and after the appropriate due diligence, the Board accepted the offer at its meeting in November. The building is an unusual Spanish Revival style commercial structure built in the late 1920’s. According to Ms. Gustin, the building was designed by Joseph Poetker, whose wife’s family operated the florist business for over 100 years.

The principal façade has a first floor storefront with a recessed central entry. The upper floors are covered with painted, rough-textured stucco. They feature arched openings with multi-pane steel casement windows and a modest interior cornice. Completing the composition is a simple projecting cornice with wood brackets. The side walls are blank, built to face buildings that are no longer standing.

The highlight of this three-story masonry structure is the very large skylit central atrium. This stunning space served as a wonderful place for Jones-the-Florist to display flowers and hanging plants. The first floor also includes an unusual walk-in cooler and a limestone fireplace. On the third floor is a large office space with two additional limestone fireplace surrounds. The staircases have open railings, as do the balconies that overlook the atrium.

Jo Lynn Gustin purchased the business from the Poetker family in 1985. A few years later, she had a large one-story utilitarian addition built at the rear of the building. The addition has two spacious walk-in coolers, a full basement with its own stairway and a separate heating and air-conditioning system.
Ms. Gustin says she gave the building to CPA to ensure that the history of the business and the architecture of the structure would be retained. She also felt that CPA would make sure that the building would continue to be a positive influence on the Walnut Hills Business District.

CPA sold the property with a protective covenant in place to Campus Management. The building has been restored and is now an asset to the neighborhood.

The Heintz House Legacy
Mary Ellen Heintz was one of those visionary individuals who made a difference. Two generations of her family, which included her father–political reformer and Congressman Victor Heintz–lived in a historic home in Clifton. None can pass the baronial house at Whitfield and Howell avenues without an admiring glance at its rustic tower and whimsical fretwork.

Miss Heintz wanted the house to be passed along to someone who would preserve its integrity. Working with her attorney and CPA, she created a specific bequest that gave the real estate to CPA upon her death. She received the satisfaction of knowing the house would remain a Clifton landmark–and of helping CPA’s preservation mission. At the same time, this valuable asset was removed from her taxable estate.

The house was a bequest made with the understanding that the house would be sold with a preservation easement or covenant protecting the house in perpetuity. After acquiring the house, CPA repaired damaged plaster, a sagging staircase and broken pocket door hardware. The property was sold on April 16, 2003.

This house was built for Jacob Freund, president of the Jacob Freund Roofing Co. and the Cincinnati Roofing Tile and Terra Cotta Co. In 1937 it was purchased by Captain Victor Heintz (1876-1968) and his wife Frances Williamson Heintz (1897-1959). Hailed as a “man of courage and principle,” Heintz was a Congressman, war hero and leader in Cincinnati political and civic affairs. He was one of the founders of the Cincinnatus Association, which gave rise to the Charter Movement and brought about the council-city manager form of government in the Queen City.

The Heintz House is an artful composition of bays, gables and shadowy niches, wrapped around a three-story battlemented tower. The play of materials, colors and textures–golden sandstone, shingles, warm red tile and jewel-like art glass–epitomizes the Queen Anne Style. The resplendent High Victorian interior, which contains 11 rooms, features rich woods, intricate plasterwork and elaborate mantelpieces with art tile.

The Wessel Farmstead
A historic home and 18 acres of farmland were donated to CPA by the late Rebecca and Francis Wessel, who lived there for 50 years, from 1950 to 2000, and wished to ensure that the house would be preserved in perpetuity.

Rebecca and Francis Wessel wanted to protect this important historic property, but to continue to live there as long as they were able. Their attorney wrote an agreement that gave the property to CPA–and provided the couple with an estate for as long as they chose to live there. The Wessels were able to take a substantial charitable deduction at that time, and the property was removed from their estates.

Located in Elizabethtown near the Indiana state line, the property includes two historic buildings–a one-room stone summer kitchen built in 1830, and the main house, an exceptional example of the Greek Revival style in rural Hamilton County. The house is a “classic” five-bay brick I-house, with symmetrical facade and gabled ell. The front doorway features a portico, handsome paneled door and sidelights.

After receiving the property, CPA cleaned out the house, relocated a bat population, put a new copper roof on the house and added a covenant to the deed to protect the historic character of the property. As agreed with the Wessels, CPA then marketed the property for sale. We closed on the sale on September 16, 2003. We are grateful to the Wessels for their significant support of our mission, and wish the new owners the very best with their beautiful “new” farmstead.