Theoretically, opportunity zones seem like a win-win for both developers and the residents living in those targeted areas.
The new law exposes long-simmering tensions between both camps: One side wants growth, the other wants a say in how that growth happens. The two sides brought their concerns to a panel discussion at Bisnow’s Seattle Opportunity Zones event last week.
Residents don’t want the ambiance of the neighborhood to change due to gentrification and higher rents. “We want jobs. We want to see how this development is supposed to provide opportunity for us. We want jobs for people who live there and we don’t want those people who live there now or the small businesses who are there now to go away.”
“Opportunity zones are supposed to create opportunity,” he said. Though the opportunity zone status provides some tax relief benefits, paying too much for land won’t necessarily pencil out, he said.