• Monday, February 11, 2019
    Polis creates office to connect investors to Colorado opportunity zones
    Gov. Jared Polis voted against and has spoken of rolling back in this state some of the tax breaks granted through the 2017 federal tax reform act. But it’s clear that he’s become smitten with at least one piece of that bill — the provision creating opportunity zones.
     
    On Monday, the first-year Democratic governor announced he is creating a designated office within the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to promote and try to find investors for the state’s 126 opportunity zones. OEDIT already has put significant resources into the program as part of its strategic initiatives division launched last year by former executive director Stephanie Copeland, but Polis move goes a step further and allows strategic initiatives manager Jana Persky to concentrate just on this one effort.
     
    “It’s vital that we continue to build on this momentum and collaborate with communities and investors to make these opportunities a reality to create good jobs.” Polis said in a statement in announcing his plans.
     
    Opportunity zones are areas, chosen by the state and confirmed by the federal government, in which the average income is 80 percent of the state’s median family income or lower. Investors who put capital-gains windfalls into businesses or properties in these districts receive substantial tax reductions on the current and future earnings of these properties if they keep the money there for five to 10 years or longer.
     
    Several of the designated zones already are attracting attention, investors told the Denver Business Journal for a story in January. The 1,287-acre Porteos property south of Denver International Airport is garnering national interest, and Southwest Property Corp. is putting together a coalition of investors to buy a manufacturer of after-market pump parts located in an opportunity zone in southwest Denver and expand the company’s warehouse and line of products.
     
    The new Opportunity Zone Program office will seek to find investors for more of the opportunity zones statewide, 60 percent of which are located in more rural areas and haven’t caught national attention as quickly. It also will provide guidance to communities within the zones on how to attract investors and interest.