What’s the Latest on Opportunity Zones?

Next City


By Oscar Perry Abello

August 20, 2019

Parts of Erie, Pennsylvania, can soon thank Opportunity Zones for free WiFi, even though the city itself was never guaranteed to see a dime of investment via the new federal tax incentive. 

As part of its strategy to court investors and businesses, Erie itself is investing in free WiFi for its eight designated Opportunity Zones, GovTech reported. It’s one of the rarer tactics that various cities, counties and states are using to stand out from the crowd as they vie for attention from the relatively small slice of people and corporations who have the requisite net worth to take advantage of the tax break.

And it is quite a crowd so far. Some 8,700 census tracts around the country received designation as Opportunity Zones last year, making them eligible for investment via the new tax break on capital gains income. Only one city — Boulder, Colorado — took the extraordinary step of telling developers and investors to hold their horses while it updated the zoning and land use regulations in its lone Opportunity Zone census tract. The city is now ahead of schedule to lift its temporary moratorium on Opportunity Zone construction and demolition permits later this month.

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