Montrose, CO — Mayor Dave Bowman will be visiting the White House in Washington D.C. next week to represent Montrose at an Opportunity Zone Conference to find ways to bring outside investment to the community through the federal Opportunity Zone program.
The conference, hosted by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, will be held April 17. Conference topics will include the Opportunity Zone tax incentive program created as part of the 2017 federal tax reform package, also known as the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," workforce education, public infrastructure, and the attraction/retention of investors and new entrepreneurs.
"It is a distinct privilege and honor to attend a meeting at the White House,” Bowman said. “It’s even a bigger honor to represent the City of Montrose at a national conference at the White House. Montrose, along with a few other chosen Colorado communities, has been asked to attend this meeting."
Bowman said by having two Opportunity Zones located within the city limits, Montrose is in a position to become a leader in utilizing Opportunity Zones in Colorado.
“I will return with lots of new information that will keep Montrose in position to attract investors to these areas as Montrose continues to implement smart growth to benefit all of our citizens,” Bowman said.
“The City of Montrose is very excited to participate in the important event,” City Manager Bill Bell said. “The Opportunity Zone program shows great potential for our community and is going to serve as a catalyst for the creation of successful public-private partnerships as we move Montrose forward together.”
The Opportunity Zone program has been gaining momentum since its creation in 2018. The program was created to encourage capital investment in low-growth and economically distressed communities across the country.
In exchange for investing in low-income urban and rural communities, investors have the potential to defer, reduce, or eliminate capital gains taxes. Potential eligible investments include, but are not limited to, funding the development of affordable and workforce housing, new infrastructure, and investing in start-up businesses.
There are four Opportunity Zones listed in Montrose County: one on the west side of the county (census tract 966100) and three on the east side of the county (census tracts 966202, 966503, and 966300) that surround and include various portions of the city.
On April 2, the city and Montrose County co-hosted an Opportunity Zone Engagement Workshop focused on identifying what types of business investment could help with jobs, workforce housing and various land use in the Montrose area.
City administrators are awaiting the completion of an Opportunity Zone Prospectus, a marketing tool provided to investors to learn about Montrose's growth priorities. The prospectus will include data on the city and county population, a profile of strategic advantages, and an outline of essential projects in the Montrose area that will accept Opportunity Zone investments.
President Donald Trump has been hosting a number of Opportunity Zone forums at the White House in recent months.
Most recently on April 4, the President, along with members of his cabinet, hosted a White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council meeting where he praised state governors on their designations of investment zones throughout the country.
Currently, there are 126 census tracts in Colorado designated as Opportunity Zones.
"We’re providing massive tax incentives for private investment in these areas to create jobs and opportunities where they are needed the most," President Trump said. "This is all throughout the country."
In January, the city and Montrose County were selected to receive $25,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to develop an Opportunity Zone Prospectus to attract new investment in and around the Montrose community.
The technical assistance and administrative planning grant carry a $25,000 local match shared evenly between the city and county.
In submitting the request for grant funding on January 2, the city noted the urgency of developing the prospectus. The city’s urgency has intensified after the Montrose Opportunity Zone was highlighted in a July 2018 Forbes article “An Unlikely Group of Billionaires and Politicians Has Created the Most Unbelievable Tax Break Ever.”
Chelsea Rosty, director of business innovation for the City of Montrose, said eager investors have been showing more and more interest in Montrose since the article was published.
The Opportunity Zone Prospectus is expected to be completed by May 1.
For more information about Opportunity Zones within Colorado and to view a map of Opportunity Zones in Montrose County, visit ChooseColorado.com/Opportunity-Zones.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.