The redevelopment of Odd Fellows Hall at 333 Water Street in downtown Augusta, ME is believed to be the first opportunity zone project in the United States. According to Mainebiz’s correspondence with Jason Richardson, director of research and evaluation for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition: “We have heard about people getting the funds set up, but if this is really a project already moving ahead with money invested by a fund, it would be a big step ahead of anything I have heard about,” Richardson said. “A lot of our members are interested in this program as a way to
Opportunity Zones News
Property developer and asset management firm Sound West Group has announced the launch of Sound West Realty Capital, an investment firm focused on qualified opportunity zone funds. Their first program — Sound West OZ Fund I — will be available for investment in September 2018. That fund will be a multi-class project in the greater Seattle area, with a focus in downtown Bremerton, WA. The fund is seeking to raise $50 million, and the minimum investment will be $50,000. Update 1/2/19: Sound West Realty Capital president Greg Genovese joined the Opportunity Zones Podcast to discuss project-driven opportunity zone funds.
RXR Realty is raising $500 million for an the RXR Realty Opportunity Zone Fund, which will invest in residential, retail, commercial, and mixed-use properties in and around New York City. Included in the plans are a $170 million development in downtown New Rochelle with 354 residential units and 13,000 square feet of retail space; an $83 million development in downtown Glen Cove with 146 units and 15,500 square feet of retail space; and a $319 million development next to Brooklyn Navy Yard that will include 680,000 square feet of commercial space. There are 514 opportunity zones in New York state,
Public sector publication Route Fifty recently spent time in Birmingham and Huntsville, in an attempt to figure out if the new opportunity zones program can revitalize these struggling communities. Local leaders in these two cities see both promise of investment and risks of resident displacement. In Birmingham’s Woodlawn neighborhood, nonprofit Woodlawn Foundation worked behind the scenes to make sure Woodlawn was designated as one of Alabama’s opportunity zones. Perry Macon, pastor at First Baptist Church of Woodlawn says the neighborhood needs more affordable housing, but is cautious of displacement: While [Macon] was largely supportive of the foundation’s market-rate development, he
Virtua Partners is one of the first to offer a qualified opportunity fund. The Phoenix-based private equity firm known for commercial real estate investing is raising $200 million for the Virtua Opportunity Zone Fund I, which will invest in three Phoenix-area projects in low-income communities. The fund will have a $50,000 investment minimum, and may be available only to accredited investors. The new fund will invest in rental housing, hospitality, office/industrial, and preferred equity opportunities primarily in the Southeast, Texas, and Southwest regions.
I just listened to Meb Faber’s podcast interview with Steve Glickman, CEO and co-founder of the Economic Innovation Group. At one point toward the end of the show, Steve refers to opportunity zone investing as having the potential to be “the biggest economic development program in U.S. history.” He later added, “It will move 30 times as much capital as the next biggest economic development program that exists right now. And it may totally change the conversation we’re having about what’s happening in America.” Exciting stuff! If you have 51 minutes, I highly recommend listening. It will give you a
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