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.
On March 21, 2018 the Bowser Administration shared feedback received from a web-based survey regarding where to locate Opportunity Zones.
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 three categories are described below, and an interactive map of census tracts being considered is here.
Given the amount of interest and the opportunity to learn more, the Bowser Administration submitted and received a 30-day extension request to U.S. Treasury. This extends to deadline to nominate Opportunity Zones from March 21 to April 20, 2018. Residents with input to share on possible Opportunity Zones are encouraged to contact their Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC). Please contact Chanda Washington ([email protected] or 202-727-6698) with any questions.
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 Eastland 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.
Additional Resources on the Opportunity Zones Program
Enterprise: Opportunity Zones
CDFI Fund: Opportunity Zone Resources
Economic Innovation Group: Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones: Maximizing Return on Public Investment (Urban Institute)
Proposed Guiding Principles for Opportunity Zones to Fuel and Inclusive Economy and Drive Social Impact (Beeck Center at Georgetown University)