Opportunity Zones: Sweet collaboration or a rocky marriage?

How to maximize the potential of opportunity zones and avoid the pitfalls

By Marty Finley  – Reporter, Louisville Business First

Louisville-based Weyland Ventures LLC is no stranger to complicated financial deals on commercial real estate projects, often weaving a mix of historic and New Markets Tax Credits with more traditional means of financing.

So, the family-owned commercial real estate development firm has wholeheartedly embraced the new Opportunity Zones program that allows investors with capital gains to reinvest those funds into real estate and economic development projects in economically distressed areas.

There have already been a few opportunity zone projects announced in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Of note are the Gateway to NuLu office and technology hub planned by New York-based Campisano Capital at 552 E. Market St. in NuLu and the Walcott Jeffersonville, a 214-unit class A apartment development planned by Waypoint Residential that will be located across the street from Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Weyland Ventures CEO Mariah Weyland Gratz sees flexibility within the program that may not be found in some other funding sources. For example, historic tax credits must be tied to historic building redevelopments, while New Markets Tax Credits must be allocated through the federal government — an often tedious process.

“We see it as a way to get more capital quickly,” she said. “It’s us going out and selling our projects and putting money into areas where it may not otherwise have gone.”

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