City of Lewiston Opportunity Zone
The City of Lewiston’s census tract 16069960300 has been designated as an Opportunity Zone. The tract has two distinct areas - Downtown/Normal Hill and Port/East Main.
The Downtown/Normal Hill area is the historic downtown and adjacent residential area. It is a mix of rehabilitated and deteriorated buildings with multiple large institutions. It is a cultural corridor linking the river, library, downtown, Pioneer Park, hospital and Lewis Clark State College (LCSC). Attributes include:
- Historic architecture;
- Large trees;
- Main Street Program;
- A large vacant riverfront property;
- Millions in recent public investment for flood control and upgraded infrastructure;
- Transit; and
- River views.
The Port/East Main area is a freight corridor linking the city’s largest employers to the Port where product is moved by barge or rail. The Port contains many shovel ready industrial properties, including a vacant river front parcel suitable for a cruise ship dock and RV park.
The City welcomes tourism, commercial and residential uses Downtown and industrial uses in the Port/East Main area. The tract includes the City’s Clearwater River frontage where a cruise ship dock would support the growing cruise industry.
What are Opportunity Zones?
Opportunity Zones are a community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities by providing a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds that are dedicated to investing in Opportunity Zones.
How are Opportunity Zones Established?
Opportunity Zones can be established in qualified census tracts that meet certain levels of poverty or other measures of economic distress, and are designated by the Governor.
How do Investors Invest in an Opportunity Zone?
Investments in Opportunity Zones must be made through Qualified Opportunity Funds. There are very few limitations on what kinds of organizations can create and manage an Opportunity Fund, though the actual investment entity must be organized as a partnership or a corporation, and the Fund must be established and managed according to regulations created by the United States Department of Treasury.
What is the Advantage of Investing in an Opportunity Zone?
Investors in Opportunity Funds receive three tax incentives for their long-term investment. Investors who choose to leave their investments in Opportunity Funds for longer periods of time receive more tax benefits, with the maximum incentive available for investors who leave their investments in place for at least 10 years. Investors must place their investments with an Opportunity Fund to realize any tax benefits.
How do Opportunity Funds Benefit Opportunity Zones?
At least 90% of the dollars placed in Opportunity Funds must be spend in census tracts designated as Opportunity Zones. Funds can be used to meet the needs of each community, and can be invested in operating businesses, equipment and real estate. Each fund will be set up to respond to community needs and the interests of the Fund’s managers and investors. Opportunity Funds will not provide grants but could provide repayable loans or equity investments to projects located within an Opportunity Zone. Opportunity Funds have the potential to direct project financing to areas of the community where it can otherwise be challenging to access traditional capital.