Opportunity Zones News Briefs – September 2019

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A 10 percent tax credit for investments in Ohio’s opportunity zones (OZs) is part of the fiscal year 2020-21 budget signed by Gov. Mike DeWine. The credit, originally part of S.B. 8, is for investments in qualified opportunity funds that hold 100 percent of invested assets in Ohio. There is a $1 million cap per taxpayer for each fiscal biennium and a statewide cap of $50 million per fiscal biennium.

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), along with the North American Securities Administrators Association, issued a statement July 16, explaining the application of state and federal securities laws to OZ funds, along with guidance for Main Street investors to participate. The guidance indicates that investors can invest in a manner compliant with securities laws, but Main Street investors, particularly those living in an OZ, face a more complex path. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton also issued a statement explaining the guidance and seeking feedback on how to increase access to private security offerings for Main Street investors while maintaining protections.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe signed legislation June 28 that includes a provision to conform the state’s personal income tax code to the Internal Revenue Code for investments in OZs. H.B. 262 amended the Pennsylvania Tax Reform Code of 1971 for all tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2019.

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DelCam Holdings announced the launch of a new qualified opportunity fund (QOF) July 23. DelCamOpportunity Zone Fund I is positioned to raise $10 million from investors to acquire and revitalize small manufacturing companies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, according to a press release. The first acquisition is expected in January 2020.

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Urban Catalyst, a multi-asset opportunity fund, announced July 18 that it closed on the second of two adjacent properties in one of the busiest corridors in downtown San Jose, Calif. The property, only 200 yards from the proposed Google campus, will be the site of a new select-service 170-room business hotel with high-level services and amenities. 

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Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Rashida Tlaib, D, Mich., introduced legislation July 25 to require lead remediation for certain buildings in OZs. H.R. 4011, The Opportunity Zone Lead Remediation Impact Act of 2019, would require investors in OZ residential property built before 1978 to fund lead-based paint poisoning prevention efforts and a complete remediation before being considered to have “substantially improved” the property. The substantial-improvement standard is required for eligibility for the OZ incentive.

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Virtua Partners announced the funding of three OZ projects in early July. The properties include a 71-townhome development in Glendale, Ariz.; a 90-apartment single-family rental development in Tempe, Ariz.; and a 128-room SpringHill Suites Marriott in Avondale, Ariz. Virtua launched one of the first OZ funds.

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of an interactive website to connect local developments and businesses in the city’s OZs with QOFs. The website, OZmarketplace.dc.gov, also features OZ Community Corps, a network of Washington, D.C.-based, professional service providers who will provide pro bono consultations on OZs.

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The Rockefeller Foundation and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced July 31 that Atlanta will be the second city to participate in The Rockefeller Foundation’s OZ Community Capacity Building Initiative. The initiative aims to help cities attract private investment in OZs. Atlanta will receive $920,000 in grants and supportive services, including $400,000 to establish a chief OZ officer in the city, with further funding going to the placement of two AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America members to facilitate community involvement in proposed OZ projects and businesses. Newark, N.J., was the first city selected by the Rockefeller Foundation and four more cities will be chosen.

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