Opportunity zones created as part of the 2017 tax reform law are changing the Charlotte landscape.

An opportunity zone is a low-income are in which the poverty rate is 20 percent or higher or median family income is below 80 percent of the area’s overall median income. Once an area qualified as an opportunity zone, states were permitted to designate one-quarter of the qualifying Census tracts.

According to a recent report by Charlotte Agenda, “North Carolina had about 1,000 qualifying tracts — nearly half of the entire state — and thus was able to select 252 as opportunity zones.” Mecklenburg County received the most of any county in the state at 17. The zones are mostly in the northwest quadrant with a small cluster in eastern Charlotte.

Anyone with capital gains income — money made on the sale of any type of asset such as stocks, land or business shares — can invest in opportunity funds that then make opportunity zone investments. Investors who put their capital into real estate or businesses in opportunity zones can see their taxes significantly reduced.

What happens in these opportunity zones inherently will change the community. Needed real estate investment will increase property values. “While this could create mixed-income neighborhoods, it could also drive low-income renters out of their homes,” Charlotte Agenda reports.

One area of particular interest is Rozzelles Ferry, which the city has identified as having warehouse and industrial space that could be renovated for loft apartments and/or flex industrial and office space.

One area of particular interest is Rozzelles Ferry, which the city has identified as having warehouse and industrial space that could be renovated for loft apartments and/or flex industrial and office space.

On the other side of the city, Eastland Mall is primed for development — and owned by the city. Built in 1975, the former Eastland Mall was situated on 90 acres located approximately five miles east of Charlotte’s City Center. The site on on Central Avenue near Albemarle Road has been empty for eight years. In October 2018, Charlotte City Council voted unanimously in to partner with a development group led by Crosland Southeast, in collaboration with two other local firms: Eastland Development Corporation, Inc., and Odell Associates. Planning is underway now.

“I hope that whatever it will become has its own identity and is unique and special,” said Mike Sullivan, who co-chairs CharlotteEast, and is a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission and a commercial real estate broker. “We are not looking for something that will be another corporate location, but something that is authentic.”

REF:  Charlotte Agenda Article – Opportunity Zones

Andrew Dunn