Maximize context-sensitive employment opportunities within the Opportunity Zone tracts, providing equitable community development, and prioritizing local residents for advancement opportunities.
Established by Congress in 2017, the Opportunity Zones program allows investors in certain communities to qualify for preferential tax treatment. Communities that are eligible to become Opportunity Zones are in areas determined to be economically disadvantaged and must be nominated by the state. The main goal of Opportunity Zones is to drive economic development, as they have the potential to catalyze growth in the local economy and the job market resulting from the influx of investor funds. By encouraging investment from people both in and outside of the target area, Opportunity Zones create positive growth and development that can aid in elevating distressed neighborhoods, while simultaneously promoting community-wide connectivity and partnership. For more information on Opportunity Zones, individuals should look to Treasury.gov and IRS.gov.
Lexington’s Opportunity Zones are located downtown, north of downtown, to the southwest and northwest of downtown, and in older areas within New Circle Road. There are some small to medium vacant properties within the areas, but the majority of the development potential will be adaptive reuse of existing buildings. This should provide ample opportunities for creative place making that will enhance the existing neighborhood while providing new employment prospects that are walkable, bikeable, or on a transit route. Redevelopment should be context-sensitive by prioritizing businesses and employment that can be utilized by existing residents and respecting the vernacular architecture to enhance the surrounding neighborhood.
- Explore recommendations to promote development at specific sites within Opportunity Zones, while minimizing displacement.