The 2017 federal tax reform legislation created a new economic development tool that is designed to benefit distressed communities. The provision directed governors in each state to designate 25 percent of eligible low-income, high-poverty census tracts as Opportunity Zones. Long-term private investment in Opportunity Zones will be incentivized through certain tax deferral benefits.

Out of 840 eligible tracts in Virginia, Governor Northam recently nominated 212 to the US Department of Treasury. Click here for a map of census tracts nominated for Opportunity Zone designation.

Reported by the Roanoke Times, “Northam nominated census tracts in the south end of Blacksburg and adjacent portions of Montgomery County; south of U.S. 460 in and near Christiansburg; the southeast corner of Giles County, including Newport; most of Radford; northwest Franklin County; part of Salem; the Wood Haven Road area of Roanoke County; portions of downtown Roanoke; and parts of northeast Roanoke.”

At the state level, the Department of Commerce and Trade oversaw the process, with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) as the lead agencies.

The administration sought input from localities, potential investors, and the public throughout the process. This program has the potential to have a meaningful impact in the Roanoke Region, spurring economic development in underserved communities.

Click here to read the full release from the Office of Governor Northam.