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The Voice of the Black Community

Local & State

Forum on community investment north, west of city's urban core
JCSU hosts meeting on local opportunity zones
Published Sunday, April 28, 2019 7:03 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Low-income neighborhoods in north and west Charlotte are eligible for federal opportunity zone capital gains tax breaks in exchange for investment.

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What does new investment in Charlotte’s low-income communities look like?

Johnson C. Smith University, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the city of Charlotte and Knight Foundation are among the participants in a forum to talk about the federal opportunity zone program May 3-4 at JCSU’s Science Center. The forum starts at 5:30 p.m. May 3 and 3 p.m. on May 4.

Communities in north and west Charlotte have been designated for capital gains tax breaks in exchange for new investment in so-called opportunity zones. Wealthy investors can sink their money into 252 eligible North Carolina tracts designated as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2017. The Charlotte zones encompass communities between I-277 and I-85 west to Wilkinson Boulevard, Freedom Drive and Billy Graham Parkway. The northern portion encompasses communities along Sugar Creek Road, Old Concord Road and North Tryon Street.

Opportunity zone programs encourage job creation, economic activity and housing and community investments in low-income areas by incentivizing patient capital investments in low-income communities. The incentives relate to the tax treatment of capital gains and are tied to the longevity of investors’ share in a qualified Opportunity Fund, especially those who hold their stake at least 10 years.

North Carolina’s low-income census tracts, approved last year by the Treasury Department, have a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater or family income at or below 80 percent of the area median income from 2011-15. Mecklenburg is 20th among the nation's top opportunity zone investment areas, according to Commercial Cafe, a national commercial real estate listings platform. Two other N.C. counties – Wake at No. 5 and Pitt at No. 18, also cracked the top 20 based on indicators such as poverty rates and number of eligible opportunity zones.

More than 1.1 million people live in North Carolina opportunity zones, including 45,000 families with children in poverty and 50,000 businesses. Over $580 million in public and private investments were made in the tracts between 2013-18.

The Opportunity Zones program is based on the bipartisan “Investing in Opportunity Act,” introduced by U.S. Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who led a regionally and politically diverse coalition of nearly 100 congressional cosponsors.


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