The Opportunity Zone Program was created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017. The first set of opportunity zones, covering parts of 18 states, were designated on April 9, 2018. Opportunity Zones have now been designated in parts of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.
What are Opportunity Zones?
An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
Opportunity Zones are designed to bring an economic boost to low-income communities by creating jobs, enhancing property values, and increasing tax revenue. In return, investors may receive a federal tax incentive in the form of deferral and/or reduction of capital gains tax.
Where are Cuyahoga County’s Opportunity Zones?
In 2018, the State of Ohio identified 64 Opportunity Zones in Cuyahoga County. Forty-eight of the Opportunity Zones are in Cleveland; sixteen are in suburbs of Cuyahoga County, including Bedford Heights, Brook Park, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, North Randall, Richmond Heights and Warrensville Hts.
These 64 census tracts have been organized into 11 unique districts based on various factors, including but not limited to their geography within the county, existing community development areas, recent planning efforts, common land uses and assets, and infrastructure.
For more information on Opportunity Zones in Cuyahoga County, visit OpportunityCle.com.
How can local communities benefit?
Cuyahoga County and its partners are working diligently to bring much-needed investments into the County’s Opportunity Zones so that residents can grow businesses and get jobs right in their neighborhoods.
In December 2019, Cuyahoga County Council approved a $1.5 million loan to a newly formed investment fund designed to assist businesses and development projects in the County’s low-income neighborhoods.
Arctaris, a fund manager with a mission to provide capital to businesses with an emphasis on inner cities and targeted rural communities, will oversee the program. Arctaris will use the fund for loans or investments in projects proposed for low-income areas, including Cuyahoga County’s 64 Opportunity Zones.
Under this unique funding plan, the $1.5 million County investment is expected to leverage a total of $15 million or more of public and private capital and philanthropic investments. The combined funds will be used for equity investments in Opportunity Zone businesses and projects, as well as loans to businesses in neighborhoods that have a similar level of distress and potential for improvement.
For more information on the Arctaris Impact Fund, please contact:
Tony Stella, Cuyahoga County Senior Development Financial Analyst