Governor Eric Holcomb has selected census tract 108, which includes the State Street Industrial Area, as an Opportunity Zone. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allowed governors to nominate certain census tracts as Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones provide federal capital gains tax advantages for investments made in these areas. This designation is intended to attract capital investment into areas that are economically distressed.
The Governor will be submitting his list of 156 Opportunity Zones throughout the state to the US Secretary of the Treasury for final approval. Only 58 of the 77 potential counties in Indiana received a nomination of at least one low income census tract.
Robin Hilber, with the Columbus Office of Redevelopment, says that the poverty rate in this census tract is 25 percent and the unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent. She says that this area of the city could accommodate cost-effective industrial redevelopment and revitalization with added financial incentives to locate businesses in the area. To aid in these efforts, the Columbus City Council unanimously passed a resolution last year naming a large industrial area in this census tract as an Economic Revitalization Area. That action was taken to prepare future industry for local tax abatement application. Hilber says that the city submitted an application to the Gov. Holcomb in March, adding that several community partners submitted letters of support asking that this area be included for favorable federal capital gains tax consideration. She says that city officials feel this support was vital in bringing this census tract to the Governors attention.
The Governor’s Office says that other areas being considered are in Jennings, Jackson, Johnson and Shelby counties. No word on when federal officials will make a final decision.