By Vince Grzegorek, Cleveland Scene
If you, like almost all of us, have unrealized capital gains sitting around, boy howdy does Cleveland want you to do business in one of the area’s Opportunity Zones.
A coalition including the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Fund for Our Economic Future and others today unveiled Opportunity CLE, a program that aims to attract development in federally approved census tracts where investors with unrealized capital gains can get tax breaks, and even eliminate all taxes, on that money. In Northeast Ohio, the majority of those tracts are in the city proper — including noted areas that can’t seem to attract development, like Tremont and Downtown — but also include sites in Euclid, Bedford Heights and other surrounding suburbs.
These coveted tax havens across the country, approved in the 2017 tax bill, hope to spur investment and development in areas with at least 20-percent poverty levels. The fear, of course, is that they’ll serve as displacement and gentrification accelerators in already developing areas.
“There is a land rush going on right now around the U.S.,” Brad Whitehead of the Fund for Our Economic Future told Crain’s Cleveland today. “Pretty much everyone is trying to figure out what to do about Opportunity Zones.”