Opportunity Zones 101: First steps for local communities
How can Opportunity Zones be a useful investment tool for your community? On August 22, MHP delved into that question on a conference call with more than 100 registrants, moderated by Elizabeth Glidden, MHP Director of Strategic Initiatives & Policy with special guests Mayor Emily Larson, City of Duluth; Amy McCulloch, Deputy Director, Twin Cities LISC; Pam Kramer, Executive Director, Duluth LISC; and Ryan Baumtrog, Assistant Commissioner of Minnesota Housing.
Speakers explored what local communities, as well as development and lending partners, should be considering in advance of more explicit federal and state guidance. They also discussed how to better understand the potential of Opportunity Zones, explore investment funds, develop project pipelines, and establish community values for potential projects. Below, find a recording of the call, additional resources, and responses to questions submitted around the call.
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Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income and urban communities nationwide. Governor Dayton nominated 128 census tracts for designation; which were then certified as qualified Opportunity Zones on May 18, 2018, by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Over the coming months, the federal government will release additional FAQs, revenue procedures, and perhaps an interim or proposed rule.
Resources: Dig into Opportunity Zones!
- “An Introduction to Opportunity Zones and Funds” (slide deck from Twin Cities LISC and Duluth LISC)
- “What can local communities do around Opportunity Zones?” (Pam Kramer, Duluth LISC)
- Minnesota Opportunity Zones (MN DEED)
- Recommendations around ensuring equitable investments and preventing displacement (PolicyLink)
- Opportunity Zones Mapping Tool (Novogradac)
- Opportunity Zones Eligibility Tool (Opportunity 360)
- Opportunity Zones 101 (LISC white paper)
- “Unlocking Private Capital to Facilitate Growth” (Economic Innovation Group white paper)
- “Opportunity Zones and Tax Credits: A Match Made In…?” (Affordable Housing Finance)
- Resources and Tools (LISC)
Responses: Questions submitted around the call
What is the website mentioned by by Ryan Baumtrog at the beginning of the program?
Where is a readable (with clear boundaries) map of the Twin Cities Opportunity Zones to be found? (Unable to make use of the “helpful mapping tool” from Novogradac).
Has there yet been any guidance from Treasury or IRS on the use of this tool? Is it realistic to think that anything can be done with it in 2018?
- All guidance is on the Minnesota DEED website
What is NMSC?
- New Markets Support Company is a LISC affiliate delivering financing solutions and access to capital.
Participants also expressed a great deal of interest in how to engage with potential investors in Opportunity Zones, and we hope to engage more on this topic in the future!