Pattern For Progress Hosts Presentation on Opportunity Zone Program
Discussion centered on how to invest in rebuilding communities in the region
NEWBURGH (March 18, 2019) – Government officials, business owners and professionals from a variety of industries packed Kaplan Hall in SUNY Orange to learn about the Opportunity Zone program and take part in a lively discussion that aimed at demystifying the federal community development program.
About 125 people attended Friday’s event on the nationwide program that was unveiled as part of the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017. The program encourages private investment in low-income urban and rural communities designated as Opportunity Zones, and offers tax incentives to investors through Opportunity Funds. Empire State Development helped identify the 514 approved and designated Opportunity Zone tracts in New York state, 34 of which are in the Hudson Valley, and helps New Yorkers understand and navigate the program.
Meghan Taylor, vice president and regional director of ESD’s Mid-Hudson regional office opened the event organized by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. Pravina Raghavan, executive vice president for the Division of Small Business and Technology Development at Empire State Development, offered an overview of the program. She, together with Jonathan Drapkin, president and CEO of Pattern, fielded questions from an audience hungry for information.
The focus quickly turned to Opportunity Funds, the vehicles that allows the public to invest in Opportunity Zones.
“The program has the potential to be incredibly helpful as a new source of revenue, but it is complicated. That’s why we asked the experts to explain the tool and provide some insight,” said Drapkin. “The public clearly wanted to learn how to set up the funds. It was exciting to see how engaged the audience was.”
In a lively back and forth, attendees asked questions ranging from investor tax benefits and regulatory constraints to investment parameters, working capital safe harbors and rules governing liquidation of investment funds. Often audience members – attorneys, bankers, accountants – jumped in to provide perspectives from their area of expertise.
Representatives from municipalities also chimed in to ask how they could take advantage of Opportunity Zones and invite developers to invest in properties in their area.
As part of its ongoing focus on urban communities in the Hudson Valley – The Urban Action Agenda – Pattern will bring together the mayors of three Hudson Valley cities – Joe DeStefano of Middletown; Steve Noble of Kingston; and Noam Bramson of New Rochelle – that secured $10 million each in funding from Gov. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) to transform their neighborhoods into vibrant communities.
The event will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24, at SUNY Orange’s Newburgh campus. For ticket information, contact Robin DeGroat at 845-565-4900 or email .