On March 18, 2019 we had occasion to attend the Opportunity Zone Investor Summit sponsored by Accelerator for America and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth; hosted by the Stanford Global Project Center.
Deal flow will be happening through a prospectus process – at least initially. Both Bruce Katz (Drexel University) and Mayor Eric Garcetti (Accelerator for America) have been coaching cities on how to be more proactive and showcase “shovel” ready programs. Katz published their “early observations and next steps” from having developed plans with the first 27 cities. Strong insights you can read here.
The cities went to great effort to showcase what they’ll be doing to make a particular opportunity zone successful (“We’ll bring you renters, work to move business there, structure investment according to OZ timing …”) Norfolk really played with the spirit of things: “we want your capital to redevelop these buildings. We will bring you the renters. And we will arrange for the property to be purchased from you in 10 years. There is no reason not to do this. We hope to wrap up the $30mm this week…”...
The day concluded with Mayor Garcetti hosting 2-minute elevator pitches from about 20 cities. All seem eager to meet with investors and have pitches with top-line numbers. Prospectuses are available here on the Accelerator for America site.
Peter spoke with Mayor Garcetti about the process and what its been like for cities to learn real estate thinking and investors to understand cities’ social benefit requirements. See our 3-minute video.
Insight from one mayor: The Mayor of Dayton and her economic development told us that the first couple of projects have deals in progress, not yet signed, but expect to sign soon. Her next tranche of projects are looking for funds focused on projects that sit between the hospital and university and she’ll be working to make it a valuable innovation district. She said she really isn’t looking for a lot of value add from capital because “we’re taking the planning and community development pretty seriously.”