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Shaping Investment in Opportunity Zones

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Spring/Summer 2019   


Shaping Investment in Opportunity Zones


      • Through capacity building, technical assistance, and regional summits, Maryland’s Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force and Indiana’s Opportunity Investment Consortium spur investors, developers, and local officials to share resources, identify projects, and market their communities.
      • Michigan strives to support new businesses in economically disadvantaged areas through an executive directive that encourages state departments and agencies to increase contracts with businesses in Opportunity Zones.
      • Louisville and Oklahoma City were among the first five cities to collaborate with Accelerator for America to use a template to write their investment prospectuses and target projects ready for investment.

Across the United States, local officials striving to revitalize distressed communities are looking to the Opportunity Zone (OZ) initiative to attract investment. Although OZs are relatively new, some states and cities have already laid the groundwork for the initiative by partnering with various stakeholders, establishing online portals to share project information with potential investors, or creating programs to align OZ incentives with other tax incentives. Maryland, for example, established an Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force, which offers guidance to local officials and developers, hosts regional summits across the state, and partners with local governments. Indiana developed the first statewide consortium of public-private partners for OZs that maintains an online portal for current development projects and offers workshops on OZs and Qualified Opportunity Funds for local officials and developers. In January 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan issued an executive directive outlining state support for businesses within OZs. Some cities have also created investment prospectuses to attract investors. Louisville Forward and Oklahoma City’s Alliance for Economic Development played critical roles in developing their cities’ prospectuses. Other stakeholders can learn from these examples to identify the best practices that are most feasible to implement in their own communities.

Attracting Investment in Maryland’s Opportunity Zones

OZ incentives can boost economic growth, employment, and housing in Maryland communities that have not previously benefited from private-sector investment.1 According to Sara Luell, director of communications at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (MDHCD), the state estimates that investment in its OZs will attract more than $1 billion in capital by the end of 2026 and create between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs per year for the next several years.2 Within the 149 census tracts designated as OZs in Maryland, the average poverty rate is 22.63 percent, 8 percentage points higher than that in eligible nondesignated tracts. The unemployment rate in designated tracts is 10.86 percent, nearly 2 percentage points higher than that in eligible nondesignated tracts. The median household income in designated tracts is $47,504 compared with $80,607 in all state census tracts. A total of 42 of the state’s OZs are in the city of Baltimore, and 29 are located within the Capital Beltway. Nearly 30 percent of renter households in designated tracts are severely rent burdened compared with approximately 24 percent in eligible nondesignated tracts. More homeowners reside in eligible nondesignated tracts (56.86%) than in designated tracts (44.04%), and the median home value in designated tracts is about $178,000 compared with $298,000 across all state tracts.3

Spreading the Word
In his 2019 State of the State address, Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland is striving to create the most competitive OZs in the country.4 On January 3, 2019, Governor Hogan issued an executive order establishing the Maryland Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and composed of several voting members, including the department secretaries for MDHCD and Commerce as well as officials from the University System of Maryland, the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, and other local associations. The task force is responsible for developing a State Opportunity Plan that will outline broad goals for OZs in keeping with the state’s economic conditions and current priorities.5 One of its major responsibilities, according to Luell, is to educate communities, local officials, developers, and other stakeholders about the technical aspects of financing projects in OZs. The task force fields comments and questions daily, and it also hosts regional summits across the state that allow citizens and stakeholders to share resources and identify opportunities for investment.6 At the first regional summit in March 2019, MDHCD and other task force members learned that community members have different levels of understanding about OZs. As the state’s lead agency on OZs, MDHCD strives to explain the benefits of OZs in simple terms and apply lessons learned at future summits.7 The task force is also charged with devising a community marketing strategy, an economic development policy brief for OZs, and policy recommendations.8

MDHCD also manages the Maryland Opportunity Zone Information Exchange (Information Exchange), an interactive online tool for investors, fund managers, property developers, new businesses, and other stakeholders. The tool, considered the “first comprehensive, interactive resource of its kind in the nation,” shows projects in need of investment as well as those that already have investors.9 As a virtual meeting place, the Information Exchange offers up-to-date investment activity, a project and business locator, and an accompanying description. Businesses, project developers, and investors can also request to be added to the Information Exchange by completing an online form.10 An “incentive lookup” geographic information system mapping tool allows users to take advantage of program overlap. Users can select a box on the toolbar to show locations eligible for other state tax credits, grants, or local incentives. The map will then highlight the selections to help users determine whether a particular OZ is located in an area with other incentives.11 As of May 2019, the Information Exchange lists 96 development projects, including 29,000 housing units and 45 million square feet of commercial development, in Maryland’s OZs. The Information Exchange has helped market projects to investors, bringing current investments to $12 billion. Maryland’s Information Exchange beat 40 other nominees from across the nation to win the State IT Innovation of the Year award in May 2019 at the StateScoop 50 Awards.12

Current Initiatives
Several efforts are underway to create state programs to support small businesses and job creation in Maryland’s OZs. “It is really easy to see how real estate deals take advantage of the Opportunity Zone incentives, so a lot of what we are doing is helping small businesses,” Luell stated. The state’s overall strategy is to attract investment in OZs regardless of whether the projects use federal tax incentives.13 In April 2019, Governor Hogan signed into law the Economic, Housing, and Community Development — Opportunity Zone Incentives Act (Senate Bill 581), which extends the More Jobs for Marylanders Program by two years, offers tax credits for companies within an OZ, and establishes the Opportunity Zone Enhancement Program within the Department of Commerce.14 In January 2019, Governor Hogan proposed additional initiatives, including legislation to supplement the Maryland Department of Labor’s Employment Advancement Right Now workforce development grant program with additional funding to establish Opportunity Works, a job training program for businesses located in OZs. The governor’s proposals will also help MDHCD allocate funding for other initiatives in OZs, including Rental Housing Works, a program to build and renovate affordable housing; small business loans through the Neighborhood Business Works program; and the statewide Strategic Demolition Fund, which supports site acquisition and demolition of derelict buildings as well as redevelopment.15 These initiatives will provide vital gap financing to move projects forward in OZs.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford seated next to each other answer audience questions at a meeting.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt (left) and Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford (right) answer audience questions at the regional meeting of Maryland’s Opportunity Zone Task Force in Salisbury. Maryland Governor’s Office / Anthony DePanise

Establishing an Investment Consortium in Indiana

From the outset, Indiana’s state government has taken a collaborative approach to OZs, bringing local officials and citizens to the table. Governor Eric J. Holcomb convened an external advisory group composed of representatives from nonprofit organizations and municipal governments to designate 156 census tracts in Indiana as OZs. During the nomination process, stakeholders weighed communities’ potential opportunity for investment and demonstrated need.16 Designated tracts in Indiana struggle with poverty and unemployment. The poverty rate is nearly 30 percent in designated tracts compared with approximately 23 percent in eligible nondesignated tracts. The unemployment rate is also higher within designated tracts (10.96%) than in eligible nondesignated tracts (9.82%) and in all state tracts (7.85%). Roughly one-quarter of renters in the designated tracts are severely cost burdened. Approximately 46 percent of residents in the designated tracts are homeowners compared with approximately 58 percent in eligible non-designated tracts and about 67 percent in all state tracts.17 The designation of OZs and the development and implementation of Qualified Opportunity Funds provide distressed neighborhoods in Indiana with a financing tool to complete social impact projects, according to Samantha Spergel, director of real estate production at the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA).18

Forging Partnerships
In late fall 2018, representatives from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis and Cinnaire, a nonprofit community development financial institution, met with IHCDA to discuss creating an online portal for investors and developers to locate and post projects in OZs.19 The portal offers a virtual space for developers to pitch their project ideas for affordable housing, commercial, industrial, or small business projects.20 Investors, who must pay to access the portal, have exclusive rights to review potential projects and contact developers to determine whether a project would be lucrative with Qualified Opportunity Funds.21 LISC manages the portal, and the Fifth Third Foundation contributed $100,000 to fund the portal and support information sharing, capacity building, and technical assistance.22 Following discussions with LISC and Cinnaire, IHCDA collaborated with other state agencies, including the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Indiana Bond Bank, and the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor, to form the Opportunity Investment Consortium of Indiana and identify ways to support the portal.23 The consortium serves as a platform for stakeholders such as investors, developers, and local officials to learn more about identifying potential projects and marketing their communities.24 In addition to LISC, Cinnaire, and IHCDA, the consortium’s primary partners include the state’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs; Prosperity Indiana, a statewide membership organization that promotes comprehensive community development; the Indiana Economic Development Association; and other economic development agencies, foundations, and associations.25 The consortium’s partners also include law and accounting firms that help investors navigate the transaction process.26

Photo shows front and one side of a nine-story building.

The Opportunity Zones initiative can help revitalize buildings such as Chroma in Detroit, Michigan. The Platform

After the portal went live in November 2018, consortium membership grew, as did the number of interested investors, resulting in more deals, Spergel noted.27 This strong public-private partnership is vital to establishing a standardized platform that provides guidance to communities.28 Spergel emphasized that Qualified Opportunity Funds are not a tool that will “make a bad deal better.” Instead, they can offer a project the “final allocation of funding” vital to its success. As of February 2019, users have submitted 14 potential deals through the portal. Of these 14, 3 are in Indianapolis, and the rest are in smaller communities. “We are seeing a wide range of not just types of projects, but [a] wide range of where the projects are coming from, which is indicative of how we have been able to utilize the consortium in our education on what this is and how this can be used,” said Spergel.29

In addition to the portal, the consortium is focusing on statewide capacity building by training local government and development officials in using Qualified Opportunity Funds, offering workshops to learn about OZs and their possible impacts, and providing resources on how to write an investment prospectus and attract investors. Networking events are gaining momentum in the state as venues for investors and developers to meet in person. Partnerships with nonprofit organizations, including Prosperity Indiana, that have their own networks across the state have also been critical for spreading the word about the benefits of OZs, especially in rural areas. According to Spergel, one of the key outcomes of OZs, aside from the potential for development, is that they spur discussion and information sharing among developers, investors, local officials, and community organizations that might not otherwise have occurred.30

Often, disparate stakeholders attend trainings, each seeking different types of information on OZs depending on their role. Some organizations are more familiar with how these incentives work than others, whereas other organizations need to gain a basic understanding of OZs and Qualified Opportunity Funds. Those who conduct trainings must understand their audience to tailor information to needs and experiences. Spergel indicated that the consortium is well situated to know particular audiences and convey information effectively.31

Photo shows groups of people seated at round tables in a meeting room with a screen showing projected information.
OZ workshop attendees in Grayling, Michigan, learned the basics of OZs, how to market attributes of their community to investors, and potential impacts of OZ incentives. John Amrhein, Michigan State University Extension

Future Plans
The consortium, along with Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs, is analyzing demographics in OZs, especially in rural areas, to customize training sessions to particular audiences. The consortium is also considering a symposium or one-day workshop to give mayors and economic development officials the tools to better market their cities for social impact investments.32 In January 2019, Prosperity Indiana and the consortium hosted a one-day workshop that presented an overview of OZs, strategies to locate potential deals, and information on how to pair OZ investments with other financing tools.33 The workshop also included city officials from South Bend, Indiana, who explained how they developed the city’s investment prospectus and marketing strategies. Spergel noted that these types of workshops are gaining momentum, and the state expects to see more of them in the coming months.34

Michigan Partnerships Move Opportunity Zones Forward

Michigan has a robust network of state and local actors involved in boosting economic development and social outcomes for disadvantaged communities in the state. As the state begins implementing the OZ initiative, it is drawing heavily on this preexisting “structural ecosystem,” according to Karen Gagnon, policy advisor for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). MSHDA is the agency in charge of promoting and overseeing OZs in Michigan.35 Michigan has 288 census tracts designated as OZs, which have a median household income of approximately $32,000 compared with approximately $52,000 for the state as a whole. Poverty and unemployment are major concerns for residents living in designated tracts; the poverty rate in these tracts is nearly 32 percent, and nearly 15 percent of their residents are unemployed. Poverty and unemployment rates in eligible nondesignated tracts fare slightly better, at approximately 26 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Nearly 29 percent of renter households in designated tracts spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent. Half of the residents in designated census tracts own their homes compared with approximately 63 percent of those in eligible nondesignated tracts. The median home value in designated tracts is approximately $77,000 compared with a little more than $128,000 statewide.36 Roughly 23 percent of Michigan’s OZs are in rural areas, and Michigan’s extensive partnerships and local networks will be vital to attracting more investment opportunities to these areas.37

Photo shows 16 men and women wearing hardhats and holding shovels at a ground breaking ceremony.

In May 2018, representatives from Larson Realty Group broke ground on a mixed-use development that will increase housing, jobs, and spur economic development in a Detroit Opportunity Zone. Brittney Hoszkiw, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Leveraging Existing Networks
Michigan’s considerable network of partnerships among state agencies, agency field teams, colleges and universities, and local governments has facilitated the implementation of the OZ initiative. The state has a service delivery network through the Regional Prosperity Initiative and its consortia.38 Structuring Michigan into 10 Prosperity Regions has helped formalize collaboration among local agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private entities to streamline services and responsibilities.39 Gagnon emphasized that cross-agency collaboration occurs regularly in Michigan through a group of nine state departments including the departments of Transportation; Treasury; Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; and Talent and Economic Development. These departments created an organized field team for each of the Prosperity Regions. The group also meets for an annual summit and shares resources throughout the year.40 MSHDA, along with the Michigan Municipal League, founded and chairs the Sense of Place Council to employ placemaking as an economic development tool throughout the state.41 Created in 2006, the Sense of Place Council consists of 41 public-private partners who meet monthly.42 To spur economic development activities and rejuvenate communities, the council spearheaded the development of a statewide Placemaking Curriculum and the MIplace Partnership Initiative.43 As Gagnon explained, this “ecosystem” of partnerships forms the foundation for spreading the word about OZs.44

Through expansive networks, MSHDA uses several strategies to share resources with interested stakeholders. MSHDA, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, contracted with Michigan State University Extension to sponsor a training called “Opportunity Zones (OZ): There’s No Place Like Home!” In spring 2019, Michigan State University Extension held five free workshops where local leaders, real estate developers, tax accountants, and attorneys learned strategies to attract OZ investment and maximize the benefits of OZs to their communities.45 In addition to workshops, MSHDA also maintains a referral form to connect representatives from real estate, local government, investment firms, anchor institutions, philanthropic organizations, and development firms with state resources. The form requires interested parties to indicate the type of project they would like to construct or invest in and the expected benefits, such as job creation, business expansion, or the creation of new businesses.46 Gagnon indicated that the referral form helps the state collect information and build a contact list of interested parties so it can target its resources efficiently. Gagnon and MSHDA’s acting executive director, Gary Heidel, review the forms, respond to inquiries, and connect interested parties to further resources, such as toolkits available on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s website and the Redevelopment Ready Communities Program, which helps communities take the necessary steps to promote redevelopment. Thus far, MSHDA has received referral forms primarily from investors. As funds continue to amass, said Gagnon, matching these investors with appropriate projects will be increasingly important.47

Photos shows buildings on either side of a street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, with two pedestrians crossing a street in the foreground.
Louisville’s investment prospectus has helped the city attract investors and establish goals for future development. Roberto Galan /

Promoting Opportunity Zone Businesses
Many of Michigan’s communities are dealing with population decline and disinvestment, which make it difficult for businesses to thrive. On January 2, 2019, Governor Whitmer issued an executive directive that expands the state government’s role in spurring business opportunities in low-income communities. The directive supports “Geographically-Disadvantaged Business Enterprises” by increasing state purchases from and contracts with businesses for supplies and services. It directs the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (the Department) to collaborate with other state departments, agencies, and organizations that represent businesses to determine barriers to economic growth for Geographically-Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.48 According to Gagnon, the directive “build[s] bridges between the entrepreneurs and state government” to enhance opportunities for small businesses.49 Among some of the requirements, the directive states that Geographically-Disadvantaged Business Enterprises must be located within a designated OZ. Most employees must either work within an OZ or have a primary residence within an OZ.50 The directive requires Geographically-Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to notify the Department if they relocate their operations outside of an OZ or if most of their employees no longer work within or have a primary residence in an OZ. This directive is one strategy to expand opportunities for small businesses that will also help reduce unemployment and improve incomes among residents working and living in OZs.

Gagnon explained that the overarching focus of OZs is to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities. In addition to real estate development, a Qualified Opportunity Fund can help grow businesses and establish new ones.51 Gagnon indicated that Michigan has both “Great Lakes and great opportunities,” and part of the state’s marketing strategy involves capitalizing on the fact that Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the world. The eastern, western, and southern coastlines already have numerous investment deals, but the northern coastline is “prime for development, and [there are] OZs on the water and around water,” noted Gagnon.52 Furthermore, Michigan is one of several states bordering the Great Lakes that conforms its tax code to the federal tax code. Aligning definitions and policies with the federal tax code can reduce complexity for individuals and businesses.53 Gagnon indicated that tax conformity can help leverage investment, especially along Michigan’s northern coast. Michigan is rich in resources as well as anchor institutions such as large universities, and these will be critical assets for marketing the state in the future.54

Cities Develop Investment Prospectuses

To help cities establish their goals for OZs, Accelerator for America and New Localism Advisors collaborated to create an investment prospectus guide to assist officials in marketing their cities, provide important data, explain key assets, and describe their OZs.55 An investment prospectus incorporates three documents: a community marketing strategy, a policy brief for economic development, and a private investment memorandum.56 Developing an investment prospectus can mobilize public, private, and civic officials and organizations to collaborate and ensure that communities benefit fully from the OZ initiative.57 The guide also suggests sources for data and offers links to current examples of published prospectuses.58 Louisville, Kentucky, and Oklahoma City were among the first five cities to work with Accelerator for America to develop their prospectuses using a common template and standard format that could be easily replicated in other cities.59 According to Eric Burnette, senior policy advisor at Louisville Forward, Louisville was the “guinea pig” for developing the template and helped Accelerator for America create it.60 As of July 2019, more than 30 cities have used the template to write their prospectuses, which help these cities spur partnerships and identify social impact projects that are ready for investment.61

Marketing Projects in Louisville
Burnette emphasized that developing the prospectus is “the first step” toward completing a project.62 In developing Louisville’s investment prospectus, Accelerator for America helped Louisville Forward identify and highlight statistics that might interest investors.63 The prospectus has helped Louisville introduce itself to potential investors while allowing the city to outline development goals.64

Although several hotel and multifamily housing projects are underway in Louisville that are using Qualified Opportunity Funds, Burnette indicated that these projects likely would have been developed regardless of OZ designation. OZs, however, may add a critical source of capital for projects that would not otherwise be financed. Several projects have already raised philanthropic and city funding, and Qualified Opportunity Funds can help fill any remaining gaps in financing. Burnette indicated that there are currently more investors than developers, stating that “there is a gap between the supply of available capital and the bandwidth of developers in local communities that can do something with it.” In Louisville, real estate developments constitute the bulk of the projects in OZs that are currently underway. Launching real estate projects is easier than starting new businesses, because developers are already familiar with real estate tax incentives, Burnette said. The city hopes to attract more technology startups to OZs when the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) finalize the regulations. Louisville is committed to using the full toolbox, including other tax incentives and tax increment financing, to help economic development projects get off the ground.65

Photo shows buildings in downtown Oklahoma City with a skyscraper in the background.

Word about OZ incentives is spreading throughout Oklahoma City, and several projects are already seeking investors.

Fostering Sustainable Wealth in Oklahoma City
The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City (The Alliance) is the lead agency in Oklahoma City for OZs, managing land use, incentives, and economic strategies to make the city attractive to companies and developers.66 In developing Oklahoma City’s prospectus, The Alliance collaborated closely with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the city’s Planning Department to ensure the quality of the information and the accuracy of the data. Cathy O’Connor, president and chief executive officer of The Alliance, noted that the agency worked to educate local and national investors about the characteristics of Oklahoma City. The Alliance was deliberate in considering what data national investors would find important, but it also hopes to boost interest in projects among local investors so that capital is not coming solely from outside the state.67

O’Connor considers OZs a tool to direct investment toward commonly overlooked areas. She noted, however, that OZ incentives will not address every problem in a zone; one considerable challenge will be to pair them with other incentives and funds to ensure the development of projects that have a truly positive social impact. The Alliance is creating a mapping tool to overlay the city’s tax increment financing districts with OZ boundaries to locate areas where local officials and developers can capitalize on existing incentives. According to O’Connor, OZs can allow marginalized communities to build “sustainable wealth” for residents through increases in homeownership, household income, and access to well-paying jobs and amenities.68


While states and localities await the final regulations from the IRS, they are laying the foundation for OZs to revitalize distressed neighborhoods. The work of Maryland’s Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force allows MDHCD to get input from local communities about where to target resources.69 OZs in Indiana have catalyzed new partnerships and conversations across different sectors.70 Through its executive directive, Michigan hopes that supporting businesses in OZs will increase residents’ median household income.71 The prospectuses in Louisville and Oklahoma City are already gaining attention from investors. OZ incentives may be critical for completing projects in Louisville that might not be developed otherwise, and plans for an online mapping tool will help investors identify potential projects in Oklahoma City.72 As these examples show, community engagement, cross-sector partnerships, resource sharing, and marketing tools are vital for OZs to have a positive impact.

  1. Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. 2018. “Maryland Announces Selection of State's New Opportunity Zones.”
  2. Interview with Sara Luell, 27 March 2019.
  3. “Opportunity Zones in Maryland,” OpportunityDb website ( Accessed 6 March 2019; Email correspondence with Sara Luell, 29 May 2019.
  4. Office of Governor Larry Hogan. 2019. State of the State Address: “A State of Opportunity," 30 January.
  5. The State of Maryland Executive Department. 2019. Maryland Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force; “Opportunity Zone Membership List.” n.d. Document provided by Sara Luell; Task Force Members include: Department of Housing and Community Development; Department of Commerce; Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; Department of Planning; Maryland Department of Transportation; Maryland Department of Human Services; Maryland State Department of Education; Maryland Higher Education Commission; Maryland Stadium Authority; University System of Maryland; Maryland Association of Counties; Maryland Municipal League; Maryland Economic Development Corporation; Maryland Technology Development Corporation; Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
  6. The State of Maryland Executive Department 2019; Interview with Sara Luell.
  7. Interview with Sara Luell.
  8. The State of Maryland Executive Department 2019.
  9. Interview with Sara Luell; “Maryland Opportunity Zones,” Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development website ( Accessed 28 March 2019.
  10. “Maryland Opportunity Zones”; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. n.d. “MD OZ Information Exchange.”
  11. “Incentive Lookup,” Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development website ( Accessed 15 May 2019.
  12. “Maryland Opportunity Zone Information Exchange Wins National StateScoop50 Award,” Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development website ( Accessed 15 May 2019.
  13. Interview with Sara Luell.
  14. Maryland General Assembly. 2019. An Act concerning Economic, Housing, and Community Development – Opportunity Zone Incentives, Senate Bill 0581, 2019 Reg. Session (30 April); Maryland General Assembly. Fiscal and Policy Note. 2019. An Act concerning Economic, Housing, and Community Development – Opportunity Zone Incentives, Senate Bill 0581, 2019 Reg Session (30 April); Office of Governor Larry Hogan. 2019. “Governor Hogan Signs Major Expansion of Opportunity Zone Initiative,” 30 April press release.
  15. Office of Governor Larry Hogan. 2019. “Governor Larry Hogan Announces Maryland Opportunity Zone Expansion.”
  16. Stephanie Wilson. 2018. “Governor Holcomb Nominates 156 Opportunity Zones.”
  17. “Opportunity Zones in Indiana,” OpportunityDb website ( Accessed 6 March 2019.
  18. Interview with Samantha Spergel, 20 March 2019.
  19. Ibid; “The Why of Cinnaire,” Cinnaire website ( Accessed 22 March 2019.
  20. Interview with Samantha Spergel; Christine Serlin. 2019. “A New Tool for Housing: Industry players embrace Opportunity Zone incentive.”
  21. Ibid; “About the Consortium,” Opportunity Investment Consortium of Indiana website ( Accessed 22 March 2019.
  22. Interview with Samantha Spergel; Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Indianapolis. 2018. “Opportunity Investment Consortium of Indiana Launches to Support Projects in Newly-Named Opportunity Zones.”
  23. Interview with Samantha Spergel.
  24. Ibid.
  25. “Opportunity Investment Consortium,” Prosperity Indiana website ( Accessed 22 March 2019; Primary partners of the Investment Consortium are: State of Indiana, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Cinnaire, Indy Chamber, Indiana Bond Bank, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority, Accelerate Indiana Municipalities, Indiana Economic Development Association, Vectren Foundation, and Prosperity Indiana.
  26. Interview with Samantha Spergel.
  27. Ibid; Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Indianapolis 2018.
  28. Interview with Samantha Spergel.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid.
  33. “About Us," Prosperity Indiana website ( Accessed 22 March 2019; “Opportunity Zones Workshop,” Prosperity Indiana website ( Accessed 22 March 2019.
  34. Interview with Samantha Spergel.
  35. Interview with Karen Gagnon, 25 March 2019.
  36. “Opportunity Zones in Michigan,” OpportunityDb website ( Accessed 6 March 2019.
  37. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  38. Brian Mills. 2018. “MSHDA Opportunity Zone Update.”
  39. “The Basics,” State of Michigan, Department of Technology, Management and Budget website (,5552,7-358-82547_56345_66155-310319--,00.html). Accessed 26 March 2019; “Regional Prosperity Initiative," State of Michigan, Department of Technology, Management and Budget website (,5552,7-358-82547_56345_66155---,00.html). Accessed 26 March 2019.
  40. Interview with Karen Gagnon; State agencies include: The Department of Treasury; MSHDA; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Michigan Land Bank Authority; Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; Talent Investment Agency and its Workforce Development Agency; Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (formerly the Department of the Environmental Quality), and the Department of Transportation.
  41. “Service on Sense of Place Council,” Michigan State University website ( Accessed 26 March 2019.
  42. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  43. “Service on Sense of Place Council”; “MIPlace Partnership Initiative,” Michigan State University website ( Accessed 27 March 2019.
  44. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  45. Michigan State University Extension. n.d. “Opportunity Zones (OZ): There's No Place Like Home”; Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  46. “Michigan Opportunity Zones Referral Form,” Michigan State Housing Development Authority website (,4641,7-141-5587_85624-479029--,00.html). Accessed 6 March 2019.
  47. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  48. Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 2019. Executive Directive 2019-08.
  49. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  50. Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer 2019.
  51. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  52. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  53. Ibid; Nicole Kaeding. 2017. “Does Your State's Individual Income Tax Code Conform with the Federal Tax Code?”
  54. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  55. Bruce Katz and Ken Gross. 2018a. “Key Elements of the Investment Prospectus & How to Use This Guide.”
  56. Bruce Katz and Ken Gross. 2018b. “Background and Purpose.”
  57. Bruce Katz, Rick Jacobs, and Aaron Thomas. 2018. “The Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus: Early Observations & Next Steps,” 3-4.
  58. Bruce Katz and Ken Gross. 2018c. “Resources for Creating the Investment Prospectus.”
  59. Katz, Jacobs, and Thomas 2018.
  60. Interview with Eric Burnette, 27 March 2019.
  61. Katz, Jacobs, and Thomas 2018.
  62. Interview with Eric Burnette.
  63. New Localism Advisors. 2018. “Louisville Opportunity Zone Prospectus: A Platform for Action”; Interview with Eric Burnette.
  64. Interview with Eric Burnette.
  65. Ibid.
  66. “Why Invest in Oklahoma City,” Oklahoma City Opportunity Zones website ( Accessed 26 February 2019.
  67. Ibid.
  68. Interview with Cathy O'Connor, 22 March 2019.
  69. Interview with Sara Luell.
  70. Interview with Samantha Spergel.
  71. Interview with Karen Gagnon.
  72. Interview with Eric Burnette; Interview with Cathy O'Connor.


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