Opportunity Zones Are Poised to Unlock Economic Potential of Underinvested Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2018
Press Contact: Jake Oliver, jake@anatgerstein.com, (718) 793-2211 ext. 106

New Jersey’s Largest CDFI Announces Intent to Establish Fund

New Brunswick, NJ – New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), New Jersey’s largest Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), congratulates Governor Phil Murphy for his successful recommendation of 169 Census Tracts for designation as Opportunity Zones. NJCC stands ready to create a Qualified Opportunity Fund and deploy this new source of capital to its target communities. Opportunity Zone legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Cory Booker as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, is designed to encourage long-term private sector investment in distressed communities. According to the Economic Innovation Group, one in six Americans live in distressed communities, and there is more than $6 trillion in unrealized capital gains in the U.S.

“By unlocking these potential investment dollars, Qualified Opportunity Funds represent substantial opportunities for the creation of jobs and homes and educational attainment,” said Wayne T. Meyer, NJCC’s President. “We are thankful to Senator Booker for his hard work and innovative thinking in creating this program. Governor Murphy deserves due credit for selecting communities in need and primed for additional investment in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties. These factors will combine to foster projects with transformative impact, revitalizing communities throughout New Jersey.”

Opportunity Zones pave the way for mission-driven investors to leverage impacts from the outset. Many of the recommended census tracts are in neighborhoods where there is already community engagement and an active network of partner stakeholders in place and significant work going on around revitalization and affordability. This will help maximize the social and economic impact of investment. Because the Opportunity Zones are spread across all 21 New Jersey counties, they can be incorporated into a holistic approach to impacting statewide initiatives such as education and healthcare.

“As the largest New Jersey-based CDFI with a 30-year track record of successfully revitalizing underserved communities, we are excited by the possibilities Opportunity Zones can unlock. There is great potential to leverage investments and generate projects with positive social and economic impacts,” Meyer added. “Given our relationships across the government, nonprofit and investor sectors and our ability to leverage further investment in the form of New Markets Tax Credits and other financing, we are eager to create our own Qualified Opportunity Fund. We believe the fund will catalyze economic growth in our target communities and provide our investor partners a tax benefit, but more importantly, a meaningful and lasting social return.”

Governors of each state and territory, along with the Mayor of the District of Columbia, were given the opportunity to designate Opportunity Zones from a pool of high-poverty census tracts. Governors were able to designate up to 25% of such census tracts. The nominations were made by Governor Murphy on March 20th and received federal approval on April 9th. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which will oversee the program, is currently developing regulations for the establishment of Qualified Opportunity Funds – the vehicles for investments in Opportunity Zones.

About New Jersey Community Capital
New Jersey Community Capital is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides innovative financing and technical assistance to support the preservation and development of affordable housing and sustainable community development ventures that increase jobs, improve education, and strengthen neighborhoods. Founded in 1987, NJCC has invested over $630 million in New Jersey communities, resulting in over 8,800 housing units, 7,300 early care slots, 16,500 education seats, and 9,600 jobs. For more information, visit: www.newjerseycommunitycapital.org.