The Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act were introduced into legislation in 2017. This bi-partisan bill gained support from all political parties as well as local leaders. The main idea behind identifying opportunity zones was to encourage real estate development and introduce profitable businesses into depressed areas throughout the country.
Identifying an Opportunity Zone
State and local leaders, in conjunction with the federal government, reviewed statistics from labor, revenue, and crime bureaus. Their efforts helped determine which areas would most benefit from being designated as an Opportunity Zone.
For example, pockets of residential areas in Pittsburgh, PA, and Baltimore, MD, were devastated after the steel mills moved out of these urban areas and took thousands of jobs away from residents. Educational facilities and real estate developers worked together to create student housing centers and expand classroom and medical laboratory space. Both benefit the community in several ways, such as stabilizing the population and reducing crime.
Construction and Project Management
Opportunity Zones, especially the recent revision introduced in April 2022, create jobs for local construction companies. Construction projects are opened to the public and project administrators award the winning bids to contractors with industry experience, sustainable practices, and economical prices. Labor, materials, administrative support, and project management all factor into the final price and represent jobs that will be awarded for the duration of the project. Encouraging the workforce from within an Opportunity Zone is a byproduct of the many benefits this unique program has to offer.
Real Estate Investment Strategies
There are many areas of opportunity for businesses, real estate developers, and private investors to thrive in designated Opportunity Zones. Private equity can now be used to help fund some of these commercial and residential building projects. When developers and investors have a personal stake in the outcome of a construction project, they are often more committed to making other changes within the communities as well as the initial building project. Opportunity Zones are designed to be a starting point for meaningful and lasting change within a community. They encourage job creation, new businesses, and residents who are committed to improving their communities.