On August 27th, the Economic Innovation Group hosted a webinar with John Persinger, CEO of Erie Downtown Development Corporation. Persinger outlined Erie’s strategy for its eight Opportunity Zones (collectively the Flagship Opportunity Zone) and described how Opportunity Zones equity is being leveraged with additional capital to accelerate the city’s economic growth strategy. A recording of the webinar can be found here, with the slides here.
While working to reinvest in some of the nation’s poorest zip codes, Erie has made national headlines by taking an approach to Opportunity Zones centered on collaboration and innovation. In recent months, Erie has seen early marks of success in their efforts to redevelop their downtown and foster an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and technology startups:
- The Flagship Opportunity Zone Corporation announced last month an investment portfolio of 14 projects and businesses in Erie, and is finalizing a second release of its investment prospectus over the coming months.
- At last week’s Erie Homecoming event, Erie Insurance, the city’s largest employer, announced a $50 million Opportunity Fund. The first investment will support a food hall and market that anchor the new culinary arts district in North Park Row. Once completed, the full redevelopment will include new apartments, provide space for 20 businesses, and create more than 240 new jobs.
- Also at the event, CapZone Impact Investments and the Erie Innovation District announced a new partnership to create a $10 million Opportunity Fund to invest early-stage equity into IT and cyber-security startups through the Secure Erie Accelerator.
- The Erie Innovation District is also piloting a smart city program that will install free WiFi, LED lighting, and security cameras throughout Erie’s Opportunity Zones over the next three years.
For more EIG coverage of the Erie Homecoming event, check out EIG’s press release and Rachel Reilly’s blog.
This webinar was the fourth in a series EIG will host throughout 2019. These webinars focus on a variety of topics related to implementation of the Opportunity Zones incentive, showcase best practices from around the country, and serve as a resource for investors, project sponsors, and community developers looking to use the incentive. So far, EIG has covered an introduction to Opportunity Zones, an analysis of the most recent round of regulations, community best practices, and more.
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