Tell the Opportunity Zone Story Investors Want to Hear

Guest blogger Steven McDonald, CVA, Chief Economist with GAI’s Community Solutions Group, describes how a compelling Opportunity Zone prospectus can help municipalities compete for investor dollars.


Opportunity’s knocking … invite it in!

The federal Opportunity Zone program holds terrific promise for municipalities and investors alike. I review mountains of factsheets and marketing materials in my professional role, and I can say that one key to success for municipalities seeking investment is putting together a compelling pitch that will reap funds for community development while giving investors valuable tax benefits.

Welcome funding for municipalities, tax advantages for investors

Created through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late 2017, the Opportunity Zone program seeks to stimulate investment into the development of economically challenged communities by offering investors relief from taxes on capital gains on previous investments.

Investment into any of more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones designated across the United States as part of the program lets investors save 10% on the tax on their reinvested capital gains if the investment is held for 5 years, 15% if the investment is held for 7 years, and earns complete forgiveness on the original capital gains tax obligation if the Opportunity Zone investment is held for 10 years or more.

And while the advantages to investors are clear, your municipality benefits from the chance to stimulate investment into struggling areas that otherwise might be unattractive to investors. But the question is, how can your municipality attract those investments when there are so many Opportunity Zones to choose from?

Open options for soliciting investment

There is currently no firm regulation dictating how municipalities must represent their Opportunity Zones to investors—municipalities under the program currently have the freedom to present their offerings in whatever manner they feel shows their Opportunity Zone offerings in the best light.

So, as all Opportunity Zones offer the same benefits to investors in terms of deferral of capital gains taxes, it is up to your municipality to market itself in a way that somehow sets you apart from many other available choices.

Just the facts? How about a compelling Opportunity Zone prospectus!

The broad impression I’ve gotten when reviewing Opportunity Zone materials from a range of municipalities is that the documents often suffer from disorganization and lack of consistency. To remedy this, municipalities can help optimize their potential to attract investment by using an adept team to identify relevant information that speaks to investors coupled with a skilled editorial and design staff to present those findings in a compelling and understandable Opportunity Zone prospectus.

Additionally, municipalities can enhance their Opportunity Zone prospectus materials with an injection of personality that ties the distressed zones into the larger community—this will signal to investors a cohesiveness with more successful areas, and the potential for their investment to help your Opportunity Zone become a better-functioning part of the whole.

Approaches to a high-impact prospectus
Make your prospectus a branded document that stands with your municipality’s larger body of marketing materials as reflected in the Opportunity Zone prospectuses GAI prepared for Orlando, Florida’s Packing District, South Parramore District, Holden Heights District, and others.
Create a standalone prospectus for each of your municipality’s Opportunity Zones, or bundle them into a comprehensive document like the prospectus GAI prepared for Orange County, FL.

Grab that opportunity

Here’s the bottom line: with so much competition, municipalities that want to attract investors have to present relevant facts about their Opportunity Zones in a clear, distinctive, and understandable way.

Packaging the right data into an attractive, cohesive, and compelling Opportunity Zone prospectus is a highly effective strategy for getting your story in front a motivated investor pool just waiting for that perfect ‘opportunity.’

How GAI can help

The Economics team at GAI’s Community Solutions Group (CSG) has developed a formula for identifying key facts that investors need to make their Opportunity Zone selections—including population, median age, household size and income, home values, total businesses and employees, and more—and will work with you to package that data into an attractive, cohesive prospectus.


Contact Steven McDonald, CVA at 321.319.3099 for more information about GAI’s Community Solutions Group and its Opportunity Zone prospectus service.

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