11 City Areas Receive Opportunity Zone Investment Designation

Julie Happy, 509.625.7773

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 3:38 p.m.

Updated June 14, 2018

Work has begun to prepare 11 city areas designated as federal “Opportunity Zones” to receive investments designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities by providing tax benefits to investors.

Qualified funds must be established to receive money from investors. Investments can be used for development within the designated areas and are eligible for preferential tax treatment under certain conditions, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

“The city has invested significant resources into job creation, increasing the number of living wage jobs, and fostering new housing options, particularly in targeted areas,” said Mayor David Condon. “This new federal designations in up-and-coming areas of Spokane, which have seen investments ranging from infrastructure to urban experience, will be another resource that sets the city apart as a competitor for business expansion whether locally or from outside the Intermountain Northwest.”

Spokane’s qualified zones include areas in:

  • Downtown
  • Kendall Yards
  • Lower South Hill
  • Medical District
  • University District (south of the Spokane River)
  • Sprague Union District
  • The Yard
  • Market Street area
  • Portion of West Plains
  • Spokane International Airport
  • North Bank

Opportunity Zones have not been around very long. The authorization to create Zones and Funds was established by the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act in December.

The IRS defines an Opportunity Zone as “an economically-distressed Census tract within a community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation authority to the Internal Revenue Service.”

The Treasury established the city’s proposed zones as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). Next steps include the Treasury establishing fund rules and regulations and the city reaching out to individuals, media, and organizations who can assist in connecting with the investment and development community to educate on this new tax incentive and investment within the QOZs.