The City of Fresno announced the launch of Opportunity Fresno, a branded “prospectus” for the city and county of Fresno that showcases the pipeline of investible business and development projects located in Opportunity Zones (OZ) in the City of Fresno and Fresno County. The Prospectus was produced as a partnership between several agencies including the City of Fresno, the Fresno County EDC, the Fresno Housing Authority, the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Access + Capital and the Wiebe Hinton Himbalek accounting firm.
“We are proud of the collaborative public-private partnership behind Opportunity Fresno and believe that it will serve as an insightful tool for investors, businesses and participating projects to showcase Fresno County as investment-ready and investment-worthy,” said Lee Ann Eager, President/CEO of the Fresno County Economic Development Commission.
Opportunity Zones were launched as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage private investment in distressed communities by providing tax incentives for owners of development projects and operating businesses in locations that otherwise might have gotten a pass in favor of more wealthy communities. Opportunity Zones correspond to Census Tracts; to be eligible, the Opportunity Zone must have a poverty rate of 20% or higher or a median family income not exceeding 80% of the statewide median. Opportunity Zones in urban census tracts in Fresno County have an average poverty rate of 39.8% while rural Opportunity Zones in Fresno County have an average poverty rate of 36.5%.
The Opportunity Fresno website can be found at www.opportunityfresno.com and provides a data-driven summary of why the greater Fresno economy is an attractive target for private equity investment. It provides a way to communicate to Qualified Opportunity Funds about the features and benefits of a particular community as well as to identify its challenges.
“This website is a key component of our strategic effort to connect key players in the development industry with existing local ventures eligible for the Opportunity Zone incentive program. It also provides a platform for local business owners and developers to showcase new investment opportunities and show the world why it’s great to work, live, and play in Fresno,” said Mayor Brand. “We encourage anyone who has a qualifying business investment or development opportunity to submit their projects to be featured on the Opportunity Fresno website.”
The website also offers local business owners and developers a platform to showcase their investable projects that match the region’s overall economic and community priorities with the hopes of reaching the broader investment community.
While the City of Fresno provides technical assistance to business owners for publishing their projects, the representatives of the individual projects are responsible for all financial information published on the website.