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  • Madison Street Strategies

Opportunity Zones Bring More Business to Florida Ports

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Investment and business growth in Florida’s 427 Opportunity Zones will have a positive impact on the state’s economy, and Florida’s 14 seaports will benefit from increased trade in nearby Opportunity Zone investments.

Opportunity Zones were created in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which designated 25 percent of a state’s low-income census tracts as Opportunity Zones. The act provides tax incentives for investors with capital gains to invest in property or businesses in these low-income communities.

In Florida, every single county has at least one designated Opportunity Zone, so there are Opportunity Zones near every port, from one zone in Gulf and Monroe counties, to 32 in Hillsborough and 67 in Miami-Dade County. The Port of Port St. Joe actually sits in the Opportunity Zone designated for Gulf County.

Everyone from national investors and local developers to governments and public private partnerships have a vested interest in understanding and driving investment to Opportunity Zones in their state and communities. These investment dollars can go into Opportunity Zones all across the country, but a community-driven approach will ensure that Florida will receive its fair share of investments.

Opportunity Zone investment has already begun. Property values and the number of property sales are rising in Florida’s Opportunity Zones. Investments will be made in real estate and improvements to existing property, while also providing a place for larger capital investments to be made in buildings and infrastructure.

Industries primed for Opportunity Zone investment include manufacturing, agriculture, construction – especially in affordable and mixed-income housing – and other trade. Small but growing businesses will have a new option for access to capital, which will grow local trade, workforce and real estate.

With a focus on statewide economic development, Florida seaports have continued to grow, with more than $54 billion of cargo in 2017. A local, regional and port-specific strategy for Opportunity Zones near each port will bring increased trade to our state from the Panhandle to the Keys.

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