Not long ago, Roger Hess began toying with the idea that maybe it was time to part with 100 years of family history.
“As far as I know, it’s another reason for someone to buy your property,” said Hess on Tuesday, acknowledging that what he knows about the federal “Opportunity Zone” effort is limited. When President Donald Trump signed the 2017 tax-cut bill into law, a piece of the legislation known as the Investing in Opportunity Act created tax incentives for private-sector investors to take their capital gains profits and funnel them to distressed areas.
Real estate developer Jamie Stolpestad encourages cities to think of the Opportunity Zones as one part of a broader mix of anti-blight and anti-poverty solutions. Mike Sturdivant, a director of real estate development with Paster Properties, said an Opportunity Zone on St. Paul’s East Side has already helped draw capital investment to Phalen Village.
Working closely with the Local Initiatives Support Corp., or LISC Duluth, that city has held panel discussions on Opportunity Zones for the economic development community and marketed nine specific real estate opportunities. Development opportunities include a Target store outlot along University Avenue and developer-owned land near the Wilder Foundation on Lexington Parkway. St. Paul, Roseville, Maplewood and Ramsey County have all contemplated development improvements near Rice Street and Larpenteur Avenue, where shared jurisdiction has brought added attention to a faded corner.