Opportunity Zones are low income census tracts nominated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury into which investors can now put capital to work financing new projects and enterprises in exchange for certain federal capital gains tax advantages. The country now has over 8,700 Opportunity Zones in every state and territory.
Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton worked with the MN Department of Employment & Economic Development and community leaders from across the state to arrive at a list of 128 census tracts across the state which was then submitted for inclusion as approved Opportunity Zones; all were approved. There are 18 tracts within Minnesota’s capital city, Saint Paul, and 19 within neighboring Minneapolis. The remainder are outside these primary metropolitan communities.
Opportunity Zones are significantly different from most government economic development programs; OZs are focused on investors and enable them to decide where and how to invest. However, there remain important roles for other stakeholders, including:
Governmental Stakeholders – cities, counties, economic development professionals, housing agencies, etc.
Non-profit Entities – foundations, pension funds, community-development organizations, etc.
Other Private-Sector Stakeholders – brokers, developers, design professionals, general contractors and tenants
In addition to being low income census tracts these designated areas are highly correlated to areas where there is very little social mobility. MN-OZA has studied the data in The Opportunity Atlas: Mapping the Childhood Roots of Social Mobility where it is clear that Opportunity Zones and area of opportunity for improvement in social mobility are highly correlated. Big picture we view our social mission as trying to make more opportunities for increased social mobility for the children who live in our developments and neighborhoods.
Twin Cities Opportunity Zone Map
New Markets Support Company (NMSC) Opportunity Zone Background
Opportunity Zones and Opportunity Funds FAQs
The federal Investing in Opportunity Act.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Opportunity Zones updates and resources.
Economic Innovation Group (EIG) Opportunity Zones pages for related news, background information, and a list of bipartisan supporters.
Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development Opportunity Zone information.
Minnesota Opportunity Zone Map
Opportunity Funds are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. U.S. investors currently hold trillions of dollars in unrealized capital gains in stocks and mutual funds alone — a significant untapped resource for economic and community development.
Opportunity Funds provide investors the chance to put that money to work in partnership with residents and community leaders whom know the needs of their areas better than anyone else. The intent of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is to increase the scale of investments going to historically under-served areas.
What makes a good project?
#1 — It must be within a certified Opportunity Zone. (If you’re unsure, please check the Minnesota Opportunity Zone map.)
#2 — There are two types of projects that qualify:
a) Empty land that a new building can be built upon; or
b) Existing buildings in need of rehab (either residential or commercial)