By Rachel Reilly
On August 27, the Economic Innovation Group hosted a webinar to provide insights on current market activity, evidence of continued bipartisan support for the policy, and examples of how Opportunity Zones investment has been used in high-cost cities and rural communities to expand affordable and workforce housing, support businesses and entrepreneurial ecosystems, drive innovation, and seed revitalization.
View presentation slides, a recording of the webinar, and EIG’s key takeaways for more information.
- Elected officials on both sides of the aisle and at every level of government have seen the promise of Opportunity Zones manifest in their communities and thus remain supportive of the policy. Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has recognized the role Opportunity Zones can play in advancing racial equality across the U.S. economy and has called for changes to strengthen the policy.
- The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released new findings on the impact of Opportunity Zones on August 24, 2020, providing statistics about designated census tracts, examples of investments and local initiatives, and models of the projected economic and budgetary impacts of the policy. While EIG is encouraged by CEA’s findings, their reliance on projections underscores that it is still too early in the incentive’s life to fully and accurately assess its impact and the need for transparency and reporting mandates.
- While Opportunity Zones investment has been concentrated in residential real estate, the range of activities is quite diverse. Since late 2019, the market has increasingly moved toward smaller and multi-asset funds. There has also been an uptick in funds targeting investments toward operating businesses.
- The Opportunity Zones policy is yielding investment in a wide range of activities in communities of every size across the country. Activity is coalescing around the following themes of impact:
- Creating affordable and workforce housing
- Supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship
- Seeding neighborhood revitalization
- Driving innovation
- Improving health outcomes
- Revitalizing rural communities
- Partnering with anchor institutions and local government
Recent examples of investments in each category were provided during the webinar, and additional examples can be found on EIG’s OZ Investments webpage and OZ Activity Map.
EIG’s OZ Webinar Series:
This webinar is the fourteenth in a series hosted by EIG to provide Opportunity Zones strategies and insights from around the country. Topics include an introduction to Opportunity Zones, an analysis of the final regulations, emerging best practices in heartland, rural, tribal and Main Street areas, and examples of OZ activity in operating businesses, in affordable housing, and from local anchor institutions.
Rachel Reilly is the Director of Impact Strategy of Economic Innovation Group.