The City of Montrose, in partnership with Montrose County, has been selected to receive $25,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to develop an opportunity zone prospectus to attract new investment in and around the Montrose community.
The technical assistance and administrative planning grant will be locally matched with $25,000 shared evenly between the city and county.
The Opportunity Zone program was created as part of the 2017 federal tax reform package also known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” to encourage capital investment in low-growth and economically distressed communities across the country.
In exchange for investing in low-income urban and rural communities, investors have the potential to defer, reduce, or eliminate capital gains taxes. Potential eligible investments include, but are not limited to: funding the development of affordable and workforce housing, new infrastructure, and investing in start-up businesses.
“Opportunity zones have been deemed the most powerful economic development tool any of us will see in our lifetime,” says Chelsea Rosty, director of business innovation for the City of Montrose. “We at the city take that very seriously. The money from DOLA will fund the creation of a plan specific to our community ensuring the most advantageous use of the potential opportunity zone investment dollars.”
Opportunity zones were nominated to the U.S. Treasury by the governors of each state in 2018 and are required to be low-income community census tracts.
Currently, there are 126 census tracts in Colorado designated as opportunity zones.
Four census tracts in Montrose County are designated as opportunity zones: 966100 (on the west side of the county), 966202, 966503, and 966300 (the latter three on the east side of the county). The opportunity zone prospectus will focus on Census tracts on the east side of the county.
An opportunity zone prospectus is a marketing tool provided to investors to learn about the community’s growth priorities. The prospectus will include data on the community and population, a profile of strategic advantages, and an outline of important projects in Montrose that will accept opportunity zone investments.
“There are so many positive things happening in the Montrose community. Creating this prospectus will allow us to highlight that this is a place worthy of investment. Having the opportunity zone designation is just a start. It’s wonderful that DOLA is willing to assist the city and county in taking the next step towards making Montrose more visible to potential investors” said Jon Waschbusch, deputy county manager.
The prospectus will be completed through a public engagement process to determine the type of development desired in the opportunity zone.
The goal of the prospectus is to show the City of Montrose and Montrose County are ready for investment.
“The City of Montrose and Montrose County have a shared interest in attracting new investment which will yield positive benefits for both. Submitting a joint request for funding to DOLA is cost-effective and shows our collaboration” said City of Montrose grant coordinator Kendall Cramer.
In submitting the request for funding on January 2, 2019, the city noted the urgency of developing the prospectus. The city’s urgency has intensified as a result of the Montrose Opportunity Zone being highlighted in a July 2018 Forbes article “An Unlikely Group of Billionaires and Politicians Has Created the Most Unbelievable Tax Break Ever.” Since the article was published, Rosty and others have been inundated with calls from eager investors seeking to invest in Montrose.
The prospectus will be completed this spring.
For more information about opportunity zones within Colorado and see a map of opportunity zones in Montrose County visit choosecolorado.com/
For more City news visit CityOfMontrose.org.