HUD REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR LYNNE PATTON CONVENES IN TRENTON TO MAXIMIZE INVESTMENTS IN NEW JERSEY OPPORTUNITY ZONES

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

HUD REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR LYNNE PATTON CONVENES IN TRENTON TO MAXIMIZE INVESTMENTS IN NEW JERSEY OPPORTUNITY ZONES 

HUD Regional Administrator Lynne Patton, New Jersey Acting Governor Sheila Oliver,  U.S. Economic Development Administration Assistant Secretary Dr. John Fleming, and NJ HMFA’s Charles Richman  delivered remarks  

Click here for an interactive map of Opportunity Zones in New Jersey.

Trenton, New Jersey – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in New Jersey hosted an Opportunity Zones Convening in Trenton, New Jersey, to provide information and resources for municipalities and local stakeholders to attract Opportunity Zone investments in their cities.

HUD, the IRS, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority convened at NJ Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency’s Gallery Space for a day-long event that brought together subject matter experts with New Jersey mayors, municipal employees, and local stakeholders interested in maximizing investments in cities and townships in Opportunity Zones census tracts.  U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming was the featured keynote speaker.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson chairs the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, which oversees the development and progress of the Opportunity Zones program.  The Council is tasked with leading joint efforts across the federal government to engage with state and local governments to take advantage of this program.

“Opportunity Zones were created to benefit local communities, and it is vital that New Jersey municipalities and stakeholders become aware of the tools available to attract investment,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “At HUD, we are passionate about this initiative, because we know that Opportunity Zones will elevate distressed neighborhoods by encouraging new business development and creating substantial job opportunities for New Jersey residents.”

Opportunity Zones are economically distressed communities, defined by individual census tract, nominated by America’s governors, and certified by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury via his delegation of that authority to the Internal Revenue Service.  Under certain conditions, new investments in Opportunity Zones may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. There are 8,764 Opportunity Zones in the United States, many of which have experienced a lack of investment for decades. In New Jersey, 169 census tracts in 75 municipalities have been designated. Click here for an interactive map of Opportunity Zones in New Jersey.

“The Opportunity Zones program can have a tremendous impact on New Jersey communities and today’s convening is a great way for municipal and community leaders to learn how they can maximize and leverage their designation,” said Acting Governor Sheila Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “I’d like to thank HUD for organizing this event and commend our public and private partners for working together to create new economic opportunities and build stronger communities.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, and head of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), Dr. John Fleming, delivered keynote remarks.

EDA’s mission of providing strategic investments through competitive grants that foster job creation and attract private investment to support development in economically distressed areas of the United States fits hand in glove with the Opportunity Zones initiative.

“Despite our remarkably growing economy, some communities are still struggling to rise, and this is where the Opportunity Zone initiative is coming into play,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “President Trump’s leadership has positioned federal agencies to drive economic development to Opportunity Zones.   I am honored to be working with HUD, and our other federal partners, on this transformative initiative.”

The day-long convening provided guidance and insights to municipalities throughout New Jersey interested in attracting Opportunity Zones investment.  Sessions on HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program,  guidance from the IRS, an outline of State of New Jersey and federal resources, and a listening session with community attendees provided real-life examples of best practices.

“Low Income Housing Tax Credits are fundamental to expanding affordable housing in this state and across the country. In New Jersey, we have changed our guidelines for awarding tax credits so that we can further incentivize development in Opportunity Zones,” said New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “These efforts will enable us to revitalize and strengthen neighborhoods, create jobs and boost economies for a stronger New Jersey.”

“Governor Murphy has championed investment in people and communities, and Opportunity Zones are powerful tools for driving investment activity,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “We are grateful to HUD for bringing federal, state, and municipal stakeholders together today.  Summits like this allow us to learn how we can better add value to community efforts and attract transformative community-focused projects to the parts of New Jersey that need them most.”

“We need to thank HUD, and especially Regional Administrator Lynne Patton for its work in maintaining this initiative. This is a tangible and immediate way to incentivize business in our urban centers. Trenton is primed for progress, and programs like this are proof that the federal government is investing in our Capital City.”

Presenters included: Richard Furlong, Internal Revenue Service; Christopher Wheeler, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; John Costello, New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Darryl Godfrey, New Jersey Redevelopment Authority; Katherine Brennan, Chief of Staff, NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Chelsea Amelia Cruz, Community Development Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Lei Ding, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; John Murphy, Principal, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund; Maria Vizcarrondo, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers; the Cumberland County Improvement Authority; and New Jersey Community Capital. HUD presenters included Angela Aloia, Justin Scheid, and Joey Baietti, from the HUD Offices of Community Planning & Development and Field Policy and Management.

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