OKC’s Opportunity Zones Provide Incentives for Investment
McAfee & Taft attorney Cheryl Vinall Denney was quoted in an article for VeloCityOKC, a publication of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, on the new Opportunity Zone tax incentive program created by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. She recently served on a panel of Opportunity Zone experts that addressed more than 200 of Oklahoma City’s business leaders during a Chamber Forum luncheon on January 23, 2019.
In Oklahoma City, eight low-income census tracts have qualified as Opportunity Zones, paving the way for increased investment and development in those areas. Those zones include Oklahoma City’s central business district, Innovation District, NE 23rd Street Corridor, I-35 Industrial Corridor, I-35 & I-240 Intersection, I-40 Industrial Corridor, I-44 & I-235 Intersection, and Adventure District.
Denney explained the structure of the program, including the requirement that Opportunity Zone funds have at least 90% of its assets invested in Opportunity Zone property.
“Opportunity Zone property is essentially two things; it can be equity in another business that is itself a qualified Opportunity Zone business, or it can be real property that’s located in a qualified Opportunity Zone,” explained Denney. “They wanted people to bring new capital in to the Opportunity Zones, so it’s not just enough to buy an office building that’s in an Opportunity Zone. You have to come in and be willing to substantially improve that property or build a new business in an Opportunity Zone, so that’s one thing that a lot of people don’t realize.”