On Friday, April 20, the State of Maryland announced the state’s new Opportunity Zones nominations. Among 149 Opportunity Zones in Maryland nominated, three of these included Charles County census tracts, all of which were recommended by the Charles County Economic Development Department. The three census tracts chosen include: the Town of Indian Head; an area that encompasses the Waldorf Urban Redevelopment Corridor; and an area that encompasses Waldorf Station, the mixed use project in north Waldorf being developed by Greenberg Gibbons.
The Opportunity Zone program is a nationwide initiative administered by the U.S. Treasury created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program provides federal tax incentives for investment in distressed communities over the next 10 years. Areas designated as Opportunity Zones will be able to reap the benefits of capital gains to help redevelop underserved communities. This program uses low-income community (LIC) census tracts as the basis for determining areas eligible for Opportunity Zone designation.
"The Charles County Economic Development Department’s strategic plan calls for initiatives to attract and grow high-quality economic activities, and the Opportunity Zone designation supports this objective,” said Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy. “I applaud the Economic Development Department’s continued focus on implementation of the five-year economic development strategic plan.”
In March 2018, the governors of each state were invited to choose up to 25 percent of their jurisdiction’s eligible LIC census tracts to become Opportunity Zones. Individual counties and Baltimore City were urged to provide input on eligible census tracts that would be most appropriate for Opportunity Zone designation.
"One of our priorities is to identify tools that encourage and facilitate investment in the county for developers, businesses, and investors to utilize," said Economic Development Department Director Darréll Brown. "I commend our Redevelopment Manager, Taylor Yewell, for his work with the State of Maryland to ensure that Charles County's priority redevelopment areas would be included in Governor Hogan's recommended Opportunity Zones."
“We are delighted that these important Charles County redevelopment areas were selected as Opportunity Zones, since it will provide incentives for private sector investment that didn’t exist before,” said Economic Development Department Redevelopment Manager Taylor Yewell. “We were informed by the Department of Housing and Community Development that the cases we made for our zones were the among the most thorough they’d seen, which goes to show that putting in the extra effort pays off.”
Investors will be able to defer and reduce their federal tax liability on the sale of assets if they place their gains into an Opportunity Fund. This will pool capital and support investments in small businesses and real estate within the Opportunity Zones to improve communities and the quality of life for residents. The program is designed to be flexible, allowing a range of different types of investments, and unlike other federal tax credit programs, there is no authorized cap on the amount of capital that could be made available through Opportunity Zone investments. Once the U.S. Treasury has approved the state's Opportunity Zone nominations, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will administer the program with support from the Maryland Department of Commerce.
For additional information about Opportunity Zones and a map of selected communities, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/OpportunityZones.