The Bowser Administration shared feedback received from a web-based survey regarding where to locate Opportunity Zones, a new designation that provides tax incentives to encourage investment in low-income areas. Additionally, the Administration announced it has formally submitted a request to the United States Treasury for a deadline extension in order to make the best decision possible.
The District may designate up to 25 Census Tracts as federal Opportunity Zones, which were created in the recent tax reform legislation and qualifies the area for tax-advantaged investments. Because of the short federal timelines for designation, the District sought the public’s input on three potential Opportunity Zone maps with the following themes: East of the River, Retail Corridors, and Creative Industries and Manufacturing. The survey, designed by The Lab @ DC, resulted in 385 respondents ranking the options, and 264 providing written feedback and comments. East of the River received the highest ranking with 202, followed by Retail Corridors at 103 and Creative Industries and Manufacturing at 87.
“The response we received to our survey demonstrates that residents recognize the benefit of this tool in order to help our most distressed neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner. “We are thankful for the thoughtful feedback and want to ensure we make the best choices possible for District residents.”
Given the amount of interest and the continued opportunity to learn more, the Bowser Administration is submitting a 30-day extension request to U.S. Treasury. The Administration expects to make nominations by the new April 20, 2018 deadline. The District welcomes additional written feedback from the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions by April 10, 2018.
Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The Opportunity Zones program provides a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds. The incentive could help to promote investments in new public infrastructure, affordable housing, businesses, or capital improvements.
The federal program allows states to choose up to 25 percent of eligible census tracts as Opportunity Zones. In the District, 97 census tracts meet the eligibility requirements and the District can designate up to 25 for the program.
The three options highlighted in the survey are described below.
OPTION 1 – East of the River
These census tracts contain a substantial amount of housing, lower than average amounts of commercial land, and multiple parks. They cover areas of the Kenilworth, Bellevue, Congress Heights, Washington Highlands, Anacostia, Woodlawn, and Eastlawn Gardens neighborhoods.
OPTION 2 – Retail Corridors
These census tracts contain large amounts of commercial land and several mixed-use retail corridors. They cover areas in the Brightwood, LeDroit Park, Brentwood, Twining, Fairfax Village, and Naylor Gardens neighborhoods.
OPTION 3 – Creative Industries & Manufacturing
These census tracts contain a high percentage of commercial land, most of the District’s industrial land, two multi-use neighborhood centers, and a Main Street mixed-use corridor. They cover areas in the Brentwood, Eckington, Ivy City, and Trinidad neighborhoods.
For more information and to view map of the zones, follow this link.