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‘The Floodgates Are About to Open’: Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Leaders Unveil Opportunity-zone Plan

By Jordyn Grzelewski, The Plain Dealer

A new initiative aims to use an expected wave of investment money in large swaths of Greater Cleveland to create new jobs, educational opportunities, affordable housing and other benefits for the community.

Opportunity CLE, a collaboration between the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Development Advisors, the Fund for Our Economic Future and the Cuyahoga Land Bank, on Thursday launched its strategy for taking advantage of the federal “opportunity zone” program. The group unveiled an investment prospectus, digital portal and website geared toward businesses, developers and investors.

The opportunity zone program, created as part of the 2017 federal tax overhaul, allows investors who put capital gains from unrelated investments into opportunity zones, meaning low-income Census tracts that meet certain criteria, to delay or avoid paying taxes on those profits.

Opportunity CLE’s goal is to attract opportunity-zone investments to Greater Cleveland, and to encourage deals that will benefit neighborhoods and residents.

Although the program has been open for months, members of Opportunity CLE say participation has been limited so far, likely due to unanswered questions about how it works. With a more complete set of regulatory details expected within a few weeks, the group is anticipating a surge in interest from investors.

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