As investors and developers wade carefully into Opportunity Zones, a handful of projects have already begun in the Twin Cities, and even more are in the pipeline.
Developers have broken ground on apartments in Robbinsdale, Bloomington, Minneapolis’ Uptown and St. Paul’s Lowertown; a grocery store on St. Paul’s East Side; and a warehouse renovation near St. Paul’s Harriet Island. At least $247 million is being invested in seven Opportunity Zone projects in the Twin Cities.
Developers of those first seven projects said in interviews that they were planning to do them anyway, but in some cases the emergence of the Opportunity Zones program attracted more investors or pushed them to get going on construction faster so as to fully gain the tax advantages.
In the Twin Cities, many of the 50 Opportunity Zone census tracts fall in the low-income neighborhoods you would expect from a program aimed at bringing jobs to distressed communities — North Minneapolis, St. Paul’s Frogtown and Brooklyn Center. Others are in places where there’s already an abundance of investment happening, such as around Mall of America, parts of Uptown, along the Green Line light rail route and around Glenwood Avenue just west of downtown Minneapolis. Some experts say the OZ tax advantages will add gas to an already blazing fire in those areas.
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