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Deals & Dealmakers

Report ranks opportunity zones based on growth potential

A report released by LOCUS and The Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University found that only 2 percent of designated Opportunity Zones are ready to deliver on the triple-bottom-line, ensuring positive social, environmental, and economic returns.

This new report identifies Opportunity Zones best positioned to spur economic development in inclusive walkable communities.

At the state level, New York, California, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio ranked highest with the greatest share of the top scoring Opportunity Zones.

Among the top 30 metros, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago earn the top scores for Opportunity Zones with the most smart growth investment potential. Charlotte, San Antonio, Orlando, and Dallas received the lowest scores for smart growth investment potential.

The study recommended that the federal government needs to increase funding for transit and neighborhood revitalization while encouraging greater reporting and transparency in Opportunity Zones.

The report added that cities can attract investment and spur economic development by introducing smart growth policies and projects, like updating zoning codes to facilitate a mix of uses and encourage more housing downtown.

“Tax incentives established by the Opportunity Zones is the best initiative this Administration and Congress has created to expand investments in walkable urban places,” Chris Leinberger, chair and former president of LOCUS said.

“The real potential impact of Opportunity Zones lies in the cooperation of local governments, philanthropies and investors to work together to accelerate the creation of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable urbanism, while protecting and enhancing existing vulnerable residents and businesses.”

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