By Erik Hayden | Forbes
The American economy enjoyed record expansion for the past decade, but robust growth has not extended to many of the country’s economically distressed communities. The bipartisan opportunity zone (OZ) program is a creative solution to bridge that gap by encouraging long-term private investment in these areas. This influx of capital will fuel economic growth and build the housing and other infrastructure needed to revitalize communities that have been left behind. The significant tax benefits to qualified opportunity zone fund (QOZF) investors are grabbing headlines; however, the attention should be on what needs to happen at the local level to achieve positive results for both investors and the low-income areas the program is designed to help.
It’s community focus and active engagement at the local level that will ultimately enable the OZ program to fulfill its promise and achieve its full potential. Locally focused developers are the key ingredient to this process and play an essential role in successful outcomes. Why are they so crucial, and what does a roadmap to success look like?
“Notwithstanding the lack of community impact reporting required by qualified opportunity funds, funds with a clear, community-focused vision are in a better position to attract like-minded community-focused investors.”