Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today joined community leaders, investors and Louisville Metro Government representatives to champion Opportunity Zones as a new tool to help revitalize Louisville neighborhoods. Additionally, the Mayor released the city’s Opportunity Zones Prospectus, a holistic document that showcases Louisville’s assets and will be shared with investors locally and across the country.
“Opportunity Zones are a new avenue for us to attract investment to areas of our city that already have momentum and could see tremendous growth and opportunity with additional capital investment,” said the Mayor. “We want responsible development and projects that benefit our residents by providing investment without displacement, which is why we’re working closely with community stakeholders, state, and federal government partners to ensure we are best positioned to put private dollars to work.”
Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This program encourages long-term investment in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide by providing a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds that are dedicated to investing in Opportunity Zones. In Louisville, 19 census tracts are designated as Opportunity Zones.
Transformation is currently underway in the city’s Opportunity Zones. One of the first Louisville investors to take advantage of the recently enacted Opportunity Zone legislation is The Marian Group through its spin-off and expansion of Blacksmith Iron Works, a fabrication and custom metal solutions business that recently moved into a 20,000 square-foot facility at 3100 Vermont Ave. in the Russell neighborhood. The Blacksmith Iron Works expansion will represent almost $750,000 of total investment in Russell and will include at least 16 employees by 2019.
“We are excited about this expansion for Blacksmith Iron Works and to be moving to Russell,” said Jake Brown, President of Blacksmith Iron Works and a Principal with Louisville-based developer, The Marian Group. “To be one of the first Opportunity Zone investments in Louisville just makes it better.”
Additional community partners that are investing in Opportunity Zones include OneWest, a nonprofit community development organization that recently purchased its first property on 18th Street with plans to redevelop it as a restaurant or retail space, and the Louisville Urban League with its $35 million Track on Ali project.
The team at Louisville Forward, the city’s community and economic development agency, is ready to work with businesses and investors to maximize Louisville’s potential for its Opportunity Zones by providing concierge project management, offering incentives for projects in CDBG-eligible census tracts, and working to accelerate the permitting process.
The city is also working to identify the needs of investors, developers and business owners, and then connect them with each other dependent on resources that will support each project. To be listed in the city’s database, complete the form found at https://louisvilleky.wufoo.com/forms/kzd6v3x13ol8kc/
To assist business owners and investors with identifying Opportunity Zones, the city created an interactive map to show exact addresses and boundaries of Louisville’s designated Opportunity Zones. To search Louisville-specific addresses, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/opportunity-zones-louisville