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Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

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Opportunity Zones in Washington, DC

Created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones is a new federal program that provides tax incentives for investments in new businesses and commercial projects in low-income communities. On April 2018, Mayor Bowser nominated 25 census tracts to be Opportunity Zones. The U.S. Department of Treasury certified these tracts on May 18, 2018.?

DC's Opportunity Zones

Desired Outcomes of Opportunity Zone Investment in DC

The District views the OZ incentive as a tool that can be leveraged to support public and community economic growth priorities. DMPED is focused on aligning OZ investments with community priorities, supporting community-driven projects seeking investment, and maximizing benefits to existing residents, businesses and organizations located in the District’s OZs. The District’s priorities for OZ investment include:

  • Deliver new, neighborhood-serving?amenities, such as retail and fresh food grocers
  • Provide investment capital and growth opportunities for DC small businesses, particularly those led by underrepresented entrepreneurs
  • Create jobs for DC residents and pathways to the middle class
  • Increase affordable and workforce housing?

If you represent a Qualified Opportunity Fund seeking to invest in these areas, contact Sharon Carney at [email protected].

If you have a project that addresses these priorities in DC’s Opportunity Zones and is seeking investment from a Qualified Opportunity Fund, submit it at OZmarketplace.dc.gov.


Complementary Tools Available to Support Projects in Delivering These Outcomes

Jobs for DC Residents: The Department of Employment Services (DOES) has reserved workforce development funds to support projects in OZs that create career pathways for DC residents. Projects and businesses located in OZs that work with DOES to create On the Job Training Opportunities can be reimbursed for up to 75% of wages for 6 months per trainee. Contact Sybongile Cook at [email protected] to learn more.

Affordable Housing: In its Summer 2019 Consolidated Request for Proposals (RFP) for Affordable Housing Projects, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will award a preference point for affordable housing preservation and production projects located in OZs. Additionally, DHCD’s Fiscal Year 2020 Housing Preservation Fund Manager RFP will request applicants demonstrate how they envision utilizing OZs in the preservation of affordable housing in DC. See DHCD solicitations.

More incentives and resources available to OZ projects are below.

    Recent Activity

    • December 19, 2019:?The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations implementing the Opportunity Zones incentive. These regulations will be effective after March 13, 2020, but taxpayers may choose to apply either proposed regulations or final regulations for taxable years that begin on or before March 13, 2020.You can find the final regulations and Treasury’s FAQ here.
    • September 6, 2019: Mayor Bowser hosted the Rockefeller Foundation to announce a new partnership to help guide responsible and equitable investments in Washington, DC's Opportunity Zones.?

      This new partnership will enable us to provide some new resources for stakeholders in Opportunity Zones:

      • Technical assistance to support local projects seeking Opportunity Zone financing
      • Grant program that will support community-driven projects in Opportunity Zones?
      • Two community engagement specialists to support outreach? ?

    The Rockefeller Foundation awarded a grant to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a non-profit organization that will partner with BCT Partners, a leading consulting services firm that works with organizations to improve organizational effectiveness and support strategies for change with a focus on equity, to provide technical assistance. LISC will also work with the District to launch a grant program that supports community-driven projects in OZs.

    As part of the partnership, two community engagement specialists have joined the District's Opportunity Zones team. They will facilitate community involvement in OZ investments and raise awareness about resources available to existing stakeholders in OZs. The community engagement specialists will work alongside the District's chief opportunity zones point of contact. Community groups, investors or others with questions about Opportunity Zones in DC can reach out to Sharon Carney at [email protected].

    More details about technical assistance and grants will be shared with this list soon and available at OZmarketplace.dc.gov.

    • August 2, 2019: The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, which is spearheading the Administration’s engagement on opportunity zones, has identified Federal programs – including grants – where targeting, preference, or additional support could be granted to Opportunity Zones. Click here to download the list.

      In addition, the Security and Exchange Commission in July issued a statement explaining the potential application of state and federal securities laws to fundraising for Opportunity Zones. Separately and guidance regarding the ability of Main Street investors to participate in these offerings. Click here to read the statement and guidance.

    • July 1, 2019: The District of Columbia's Opportunity Zone Marketplace is now live. The Marketplace is a platform where project sponsors, fund managers, investors, community members, and professional service providers can connect. It includes listings of investment opportunities and OZ Community Corps service providers. View the OZ Marketplace here.

      The OZ Community Corps is a network of DC-based professional service providers, such as lawyers, accountants and financial advisers, who will provide pro bono consultations about OZ transactions to residents, small businesses and nonprofits based in DC Opportunity Zones. Professional service providers: sign up to volunteer here.

    • June 5, 2019: DMPED released a Request for Information (RFI) addressing ways to support small commercial space users – including local retailers, light manufacturers, startups, nonprofits, as well as arts and cultural organizations – in securing affordable commercial space, with a focus on users located in DC’s 25 Opportunity Zones. In addition, the RFI invites input on ways to leverage the Opportunity Zones tax incentive and align District, federal and philanthropic resources to support this objective. Responses are due by July 17, 2019. Read the RFI here.
    • April 17, 2019: The U.S. Department of Treasury released the second round of proposed regulations for Opportunity Zones, along with a Request for Information about data collection and tracking. Proposed regulations are available here.??
    • March 26, 2019: Mayor Bowser announced new efforts to maximize the benefits of Opportunity Zones investment to DC communities:
      • The OZ Community Corps, which will enable community organizations and small businesses to tap into pro bono advice from lawyers and other experts.
      • An online Opportunity Zone marketplace for project sponsors, fund managers, investors, and community members. Project sponsors can submit their project?information at this link.
      • A commitment of $24 million to projects that support affordable housing, workforce development, and the growth of small businesses in DC's Opportunity Zones.

    Mayor Bowser made these announcements as part of the annual DMPED "March Madness" event that previewed new projects for the development community. More details on these initiatives will be released in the coming months.

    • February 26, 2019: The DC Chamber of Commerce and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) held an event with local businesses and OZ experts about how OZ could work for businesses.

    • ?February 14, 2019: The Internal Revenue Service held a public hearing on the first round of proposed regulations. Final regulations have not yet been released.
    • ?December 12, 2018: The White House established a 13-agency council that will streamline, coordinate, and target existing federal programs to economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones.
    • October 19, 2018: The U.S.. Department of Treasury released proposed implementation regulations. Treasury has said it will release two more tranches of guidance in 2019.

    If you are interested in receiving updates related to DC's Opportunity Zones, sign up here.

    Questions? Contact us at (202) 727-6365.

    More Opportunity Zones Resources

    IRS:OZ Frequently Asked Questions
    IRS: Press Release on Proposed Regulations
    Department of Treasury Press Release on Proposed Regulations
    CDFI Fund: Opportunity Zone Resources
    Securities and Exchange Commission Statement on Opportunity Zones
    Enterprise: Opportunity Zones
    Economic Innovation Group: Opportunity Zones
    Opportunity Zones: Maximizing Return on Public Investment (Urban Institute)
    Beeck Center at Georgetown University OZ Impact Reporting Framework
    Opportunity Zones Incubator (Kresge Foundation, Calvert Impact Capital)
    LISC: Opportunity Zones
    Novogradac: Opportunity Zone Resource Center
    Accelerator for America: Community prospectus guides and examples
    The Opportunity Exchange

    Final Opportunity Zones Regulations

    “The Substance and Significance of the Final Regulations on Opportunity Zones” (Economic Innovation Group, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Novogradac & Company LLP?(1/14/2020)
    Final Opportunity Zones Regulations (12/19/2019)
    U.S. Treasury Department/IRS FAQ on Final Opportunity Zones Regulations (12/19/219)
    Final OZ Regulations?— Quick Take (12/19/2019, Novogradac)

    Listings of Qualified Opportunity Funds: