On Thursday June 21st the BRBC, in collaboration with several local partners, held the Bridgeport – Stratford Opportunity Zone Information Forum at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Bridgeport. The theme of the event was: What does the Opportunity Zone Program mean for Investors, Developers, and Designated Communities?
The first of its kind in Connecticut, this forum was free of charge for those who pre-registered. More than 145 attendees, including several elected and State officials, and municipal economic development practitioners from as far away as New London, Hartford, and Mansfield took advantage of the program.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established the federal “Opportunity Zones” (OZ) program, intended to provide favorable capital gains treatment for investors who support eligible projects in designated census tracts. 72 US Census Tracts in 20 Connecticut municipalities were nominated by Governor Malloy and subsequently designated by the US Treasury. Bridgeport has had 7 tracts designated; Stratford has had 1 tract designated for the OZ program. While the US Treasury had not yet finalized the rules for the program, a great deal of information had started to surface about the mechanics and usefulness of the program. 4 presenters offered their industry perspective on the OZ program, then participated in a moderated panel discussion and Q&A with the audience:
LINK BELOW FOR A PDF FILE OF EACH PRESENTATION
- Liddy Karter, Managing Director, Enhanced Capital Partners, What Opportunity Zone investors will be looking for
- Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer, Connecticut Green Bank, Using Opportunity Zones to Increase Investment in Renewables and Energy Efficiency
- Kevin Gremse, Senior Director, National Development Council, Utilizing existing Fed & State programs for Opportunity Zone projects
- John Stafstrom, Public Finance Chair, Pullman & Comley, LLC., Legal & structuring considerations to qualify for Opportunity Zone benefits
Kuchma Corporation and Bridgeport Landing Development sponsored the event.
BRBC’s collaborating partners for the event were the Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG), the Bridgeport Innovation Places (BIP) Team, the City of Bridgeport’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, the Town of Stratford’s Economic Development Office, and the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO).