City leaders talk plans for 17 ‘opportunity zones’ in Charlotte

City leaders talk plans for 17 “Opportunity Zones” in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Tuesday, Charlotte city leaders got a first hand look at how federal incentives could help transform our community.

Ja’Ron K. Smith, a special assistant on domestic policy to President Trump, met with leaders to discuss how 17 Opportunity Zones can work for our community.

The zones are in areas including East Charlotte, North End and North Tryon, Wilkinson Boulevard and surrounding the airport, Freedom Drive, West Trade Street, Beatties Ford Road and Rozelles Ferry.

“We’re talking about a hundred billion dollars potentially a year that can be leveraged into some of our most impoverished communities throughout our country,” Smith said.

Smith joined local leaders and investors on a bus tour to see a few of the zones for themselves.

Their first stop was the old Eastland Mall site.

“We have the gold line extension planned to come down to Albemarle to connect this area via the streetcar downtown, and then silver line on Independence, and there’s talk about the pink line that would connect silver line over here,” Council member Matt Newton said.

Newton says plans for an international sportsplex could spark revitalization, but it all comes with a risk.

“How do we grow as a city where we are bringing opportunities in parts of city where we haven’t seen economic development but at the same time not displacing business owners?” Council member Dimple Ajmera said.

That same concern exists in the West End area.

“Historic West End goes from the bridge of 77 which cut off the neighborhood many years ago all the way up to 85 and beyond."

Development is already happening around Johnson C. Smith University where the city is planning a Four Points Plaza.

Tax breaks are up for grabs in all of these zones.

If an investor holds the initial investment for at least 10 years, they will owe zero taxes on their capital gains.

“The federal government is looking at these as economic development opportunities,” Mayor Vi Lyles said. “The focus I have is affordable housing. And we have to determine how to do both of those in the same area.”

The funding is available and now they are working on rule-making at the federal level.

The city of Charlotte is working to engage the community and the private sector to make sure its successful for both.

For more details on where all of these zones are click here.

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