The 2017 federal tax reform legislation created a new economic development tool that is designed to benefit distressed communities. The provision directs 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.

There are 840 eligible tracts in Virginia, meaning Governor Northam will designate 210. The Department of Commerce and Trade is overseeing the process, with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) as the lead agencies.

The DHCD website outlines the processes and criteria that will be used in making Opportunity Zone designations. Localities with eligible census tracts have been asked to provide feedback on priority tracts by March 2. The deadline for governors to submit their designated Opportunity Zones is March 21.

This program has the potential to have a meaningful impact throughout the Roanoke Region. You will can access a map of eligible census tracts to see which areas could be designated as Opportunity Zones. To provide general input as a stakeholder or interested party, take this brief survey through the DHCD website.

If you are interested in becoming an Opportunity Zone General Partner or Investor, fill out one of the letters below and return to DHCD at OZ@dhcd.virginia.gov.

Opportunity Zone General Partner/Fund Manager Letter

Opportunity Zone Investor Letter