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City mulls over opportunity zones

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

While City Council waits another three months for a possible strategy on how to capitalize on newly created federal “opportunity zones,” it appears the private sector is wasting no time getting in the game. Austin Business Journal reports that the zones created as part of the 2017 federal tax cut are bringing investment capital into play for projects located around Austin, including a mixed-use development on East Riverside Drive that has fanned gentrification concerns in the historically low-income area. City and Travis County leaders spent part of the summer discussing ideas on how to manage the zones, which are intended to bring economic activity to areas around the country that have experienced divestment or slow economic growth. The result of that came in October when Council passed a resolution calling for the city manager and the Economic Development Department to bring forward recommendations for how the city can leverage its own incentives in opportunity zones to bring resources like green grocery stores to areas where they are lacking. The deadline for those recommendations is April 18.

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