Miami Banks Leading Tech Charge

By Yolanda Rivas

July 2019

2 min read  — Advances in technology are having a dramatic influence in the banking sector across the globe. Innovations are impacting the delivery of products and services, making the banking process faster, easier and more reliable. Customer satisfaction and increased competition are driving the tech push, and there is more on the horizon.

“We are changing our core banking system and investing more than $25 million to make that change. It’s an important step for us because we know technology will be the driving force to our growth in the future,” Fernando Beyruti, CEO of Itau Private Bank, told Invest:. 

An article from Bank Innovation explains that banks are spending more than $100 million to replace their aging core systems. Advances in blockchain technology, IoT, fintech, online banking and robotics have helped many financial institutions improve efficiency and accessibility. 

The investment isn’t just to make banking easier now, it is also part of the future. Technology is an integral part of City National Bank’s five-year plan. “We will invest over $15 million in digital transformation for the organization. This will ensure that we continue to be innovative as well as impactful through improving our client experience,” President and CEO Jorge Gonzalez told Invest:.  

Many financial institutions are also partnering with financial technology (fintech) groups to improve their offerings. According to a 2017 report from multinational professional services network PwC, 82% of financial leaders expect to increase fintech partnerships in the next three to five years. 

Cybersecurity and fraud detection are other areas where technology is playing a key role. “When we invest in technology we are also investing in strengthening our cybersecurity,” Gonzalez stated. The investment is not just in the technology, but also in bringing in the right people who have the experience and talent to be able to instill their knowledge throughout the organization,” he said. 

In that regard, First American Bank recently created a senior-level position — information security officer — whose role is to train employees and allocate resources in preparation for possible cyberattacks. “Security threats are on the rise, forcing us to be mindful that our information can be compromised at any time. Through back-room investments and increased training, we are taking the necessary precautions to reduce risk by educating our employees as well as our customers,” Brian Hagan, Florida Market President for First American Bank, told Invest:. 

Although technology adoption can be a challenge for some financial institutions, especially smaller banks that do not have the financial capacity to keep up with the latest innovations, ultimately it can provide a cost-savings. “I think all of us as a banking community in Miami are saddled with compliance concerns. But I think that, with technology, those kinds of costs can be reduced gradually while still maintaining the kind of vigilance that we have to have. There’s a good opportunity for our industry here,” G. Frederick Reinhardt, Chairman and CEO of Brickell Bank, stated in an Interview with Invest:. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Itau Private Bank: http://www.itauprivatebank.com/

City National Bank: https://www.citynationalcm.com/home/home 

First American Bank: https://www.firstambank.com/personalbanking/ 

Brickell Bank: https://brickellbankmiami.com/ 

PwC: https://www.pwc.com/ 

Bank Innovation: https://bankinnovation.net/ 

Southern Command’s Economic Impact in the Region

By Yolanda Rivas

July 2019

2 min read — The U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) moved its headquarters to Miami almost 22 years ago with revised priorities, objectives and capabilities. Since then, the command has had a significant impact on the local economy.

 

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, by 2017, SOUTHCOM had a combined economic impact in Miami-Dade of 53,151 jobs. It also had $5.4 billion in sales, a gross regional product of $5.1 billion and a 4% of total gross product since 2011. 

SOUTHCOM is one of 10 unified Combatant Commands in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). And it is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation in its area of responsibility, which covers much of the Western Hemisphere. It includes Central America, South America and the Caribbean (except U.S. commonwealths, territories, and possessions) and encompasses 31 countries and 16 dependencies and areas of special sovereignty. 

Although the command was given its current name in 1963, its history as a unified military headquarters began during World War II, with the establishment of the U.S. Caribbean Defense Command, located in Panama. It was in September 1997 when the SOUTHCOM moved to Miami. 

The command is now responsible for employing over 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and several other federal agencies. The defense industry has an economic impact of $5.5 billion on Miami-Dade County and it supports 56,476 jobs with an average salary of $70,300, according to data from Miami Dade Beacon Council. 

The SOUTHCOM has played a key role on the overall defense industry impact in the county. Raymond Sarracino, spokesperson from U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs, explained in an interview with Miami Today that “in addition to salary, he or she (military active duty) will also receive $3,000 a month tax free for living expenses, which definitely plays a role in the economic impact of the community.”

The command’s workforce is supported by more than 400 civilian employees who play a crucial role in SOUTHCOM’s efforts to support security and stability in the region. They also have a Public / Private Cooperation (PPC) program which integrates non-governmental organizations, private companies, academic institutions, or other qualifying groups to foster society solutions for 21st century challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

For more information, please visit:

U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM): https://www.southcom.mil/ 

U.S. Department of Defense: https://www.defense.gov/ 

Miami Dade Beacon Council: https://www.beaconcouncil.com/ 

SOUTHCOM Public / Private Cooperation (PPC) program: https://www.southcom.mil/Work-With-Us/Public-Private-Cooperation/

Miami Growing Political Profile

By Yolanda Rivas

June 2019

2 min read July 2019 — Miami grabbed the national spotlight last week when it hosted the first Democratic presidential debates. The city is already a popular destination for tourism and business, but events like these boost its political profile and create a trickle-down effect that has a broad and positive impact.

“Miami is a vibrant and dynamic city that reflects the values and diversity of the Democratic Party. I couldn’t imagine a better setting for our first debate,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez in a written statement regarding the event at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. 

Miami has previously hosted presidential debates, which impact logistics, airport and hotel capacity. In March 2016, Republican candidates debated at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center during the 12th and final Republican presidential debate. The city also hosted a Democratic presidential primary debate at Miami Dade College and the first of the presidential debates in 2004 at the University of Miami.  

These political events also benefit the educational institutions that host them. Usually, universities spend millions of dollars to host presidential debates. This has a direct impact on the local economy, with the involvement of subcontractors and others in the preparations for security and media. 

According to an article in USA Today, Lynn University, which hosted a 2012 general election presidential debate in Boca Raton, estimated the event generated a staggering $63.7 million in “earned media.” For example, the university estimated that some 4,000 media representatives attended the debate and spent $2.6 million while in town.

These events can also represent an enriched educational experience for students because a number of seats are usually distributed to university students and officials. As a debate site, an institution also enjoys heightened visibility and a chance to attract new students. 

While less obvious, another significant benefit is the ability of a city to capture the nation’s attention and potentially influence the election through the questions and topics discussed. Miami is a demographically diverse and coastal city, making it perfectly suited to raise issues of national concern, such as immigration and climate change, as happened at the Democratic debates. 

Miami’s rich culture, demographics and strong business environment make it a prime destination for political events. With the spotlight in hand, Miami not only bolstered its national stature, it provided an opportunity for the local community to shine, and potentially grow. 

For more information, visit:

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts: https://www.arshtcenter.org/ 

University of Miami: https://welcome.miami.edu/ 

BankUnited Center – Watsco Center: http://watscocenter.com/eventpage.php?id=154 

Miami Dade College: http://www.mdc.edu/

Miami is a prime destination for new food & beverage concepts

By staff writer

June 2019

 

Miami’s food and beverage sector is known for its diversity, and 2019 is expected to buttress that reputation, with numerous high-profile restaurants set to spice up the local scene. The arrival of international eateries that are making Miami their first U.S. location is also helping to prop up the economy.

“The tremendous growth we’ve observed (in the real estate market) can be attributed in part to the fact that Miami has become much more important culturally than it ever has been. Even in terms of restaurants, this market never had the selection it now has,” Jackie Soffer, CEO and chairman of real estate development group Turnberry Associates told Invest:. “For instance, we just opened a restaurant in the Aventura Mall with Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina, both well-known, nationally acclaimed chefs, called International Smoke,” she said. 

Restaurants are a driving force not only in Miami, but in Florida’s economy. According to a report from the National Restaurant Association, restaurant and food service jobs represent 12% of employment in the state. 

One of the most anticipated openings for fall 2019 is Orilla Bar & Grill, by Argentine chef Fernando Trocca. This will be the popular Argentine restaurant’s first location in the U.S. Trocca partnered with bartender Ines De Los Santo and restaurateur Martin Pittaluga, according to an article in Eater Miami. 

Esplanade at Aventura, an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complex under construction, recently announced five restaurants that will debut their first U.S locations there. These eateries, which are set to open in spring 2020, are: Carolo and Blanco Bistro, both from Mexico; Jarana, the newest restaurant concept from Peruvian celebrity chef Gastón Acurio; SU Japanese, based on Brazilian-based restaurant Kitchin; and Mixtura Market Hall, which is the first food hall announced for the complex. Miami’s rich dining landscape offers options for every type of flavor, from Latin American to Pan-asian, Caribbean to Middle Eastern,

“There’s high demand in the restaurant industry: The Miami Modern (MiMo) area is continually growing and the whole Biscayne Corridor is changing because of its proximity to key areas such as the beach and downtown,” Michelle Gonzalez, Broker/Owner of Floridian First Realty, told Invest:. “There are other areas such as Kendall and Homestead that have space for growing their culinary offerings and where we’ll definitely see more restaurants opening up.” 

Gonzalez added that trendy restaurant concepts, such as juice bars and cafes, new hotels and breweries, are also reshaping Downtown Miami, including its look and feel. 

For more information about our interviewees, please visit: 

Turnberry Associates: https://www.turnberry.com/

Floridian First Realty: https://www.floridianfirstrealty.com/

National Restaurant Association: https://restaurant.org/Home

 

Miami Cruise Liners Stay Ahead of Latest Wave

By staff writer

June 2019

Credit: PortMiami

Miami is globally known as the cruise capital of the world, receiving 22 cruise lines and millions of passengers every year. With that much traffic and momentum to maintain, it’s not enough to just catch the latest wave, you have to stay ahead of it.

That is just what top cruise lines in Miami have been doing. Many are busy updating their Miami operations, headquarters, terminals, cruises and more to keep up with the industry’s latest trends. No wonder: With an almost 7 percent increase in the number of global cruise passengers, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), represents over 1.5 million more passengers, 2018 was a record year for the cruise industry.

Among the most high-profile updates unveiled at the world’s biggest cruise hub is Norwegian Cruise Line’s new PortMiami terminal, which will leverage the terminal’s size and include the latest technological innovations to move guests through embarkation and disembarkation faster and more efficiently.

The president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, Andy Stuart, spoke with Invest: about the importance of the new terminal, which is expected to be completed by fall 2019. “Aside from representing our brand’s commitment to cruising innovation, the terminal represents a big commitment to the city as well, as it assures local officials that we will maintain a large number of ships here well into the future. With each ship able to bring thousands of people into the city on a regular basis, the terminal is projected to contribute to the local economy with increased tourism volume and revenue,” he said.

In addition, last year, Carnival Cruise Line opened a 35,000-square-foot Fleet Operations Center at its Doral headquarters.”This state-of-the-art monitoring and support center is the cruise industry’s largest and most advanced facility of its kind. We have immediate access to the status of our fleet and we can communicate with our ship teams,” Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, told Invest:.

Some of the trends cruise travelers are looking for include on-board smart tech, wellness and restorative experiences and achievement travel, according to the 2019 Cruise Trends & Industry Outlook report from CLIA.  

“There has been tremendous pressure on the industry to enhance onboard offerings and attractions, such as dining, entertainment and amenities, to compete with land-based destinations that continue to grow and expand their offerings and capabilities,” Stuart said, adding that one major trend is a broader range of destinations, such as the Baltics, Alaska and the Caribbean.

Carnival Corporation has gone so far as to establish an Innovation and Experience Center in Doral. “That’s where we developed our breakthrough OceanMedallion guest experience platform, an innovative system based on a small, wearable device that helps us enhance an already great vacation for our guests,” Donald said. The corporation is also the first to build cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas. The move was made to address its 2020 sustainability goals.

Updates are also happening onshore at PortMiami, including the new Virgin Voyages’ cruise terminal, which will break ground later this year, MSC Cruises’ two new cruise facilities, Disney Cruise Line’s expansion with two cruise ships and a possible new cruise terminal, which was approved by Miami-Dade County Commissioners in September 2018.  

For more information on our interviewees, please visit their websites:

Norwegian Cruise Line: https://www.ncl.com

Carnival Corporation: http://www.carnivalcorp.com/

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): https://cruising.org/

Overtown Bringing Entertainment District Back to Life

By staff writer

June 2019

2 min. read

Historically, the Overtown cultural and entertainment district was recognized as the Harlem of The South due to its vibrant cultural and entertainment scene. When it comes to black history, Overtown is one of the most important areas in Miami. Today, local leaders are working to bring back that unique culture and entertainment environment to the area.

The development of the Overtown Cultural and Entertainment District is one of the main areas of focus of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency’s (SEOPW CRA) updated redevelopment plan.

“A key component of our redevelopment plan is to revitalize Overtown’s cultural and entertainment district, which is dear to my heart. As you know, Overtown was once considered the Harlem of The South and had a very vibrant nightlife,” Cornelius Shiver, executive director of the SEOPW CRA told Invest:.

The proposed district will consist of culturally-oriented venues, including museums, art galleries, hotels, night clubs, and supper clubs within close proximity.

“We want to bring cultural events and entertainment back, which in turn will create other economic and social synergies,” Shiver said.

The CRA has already begun development of the Overtown Cultural and Entertainment District by attracting new restaurant and entertainment ventures. This includes a new restaurant from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelson, who owns Red Rooster in Harlem, to be built where once stood the Clyde Killens Pool Hall.

The Harlem Square Supper Club project is another example of the CRA’s efforts to restore Overtown’s thriving entertainment scene. The supper club/lounge will be an adaptive reuse of the former  home of the legendary Clyde Killens, a famous photographer and music promoter from Overtown.

Overtown also has several cultural destinations, including the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex, the Historic Black Police Precinct Courthouse And Museum, the historic Josephine And Dunn Hotel, Overtown Performing Arts Center and Ward Rooming House Gallery.

One of the area’s most important cultural activities is the Overtown Music & Arts Festival, which is held annually to promote and celebrate the history and culture of the neighborhood. It also brings an economic boost to local small businesses located in the area.

“We want to make the Overtown cultural-entertainment district a tourist destination that not only will celebrate the cultural history of Overtown, but will highlight the black heritage of Miami-Dade County,” Shiver said.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency: http://www.miamicra.com/seopwcra/pages/default.html

For more information about cultural destinations in Overtown, visit:  

Overtown Music & Arts Festival: https://www.overtownmusicartsfestival.com/

Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex: https://www.bahlt.org/

Historic Black Police Precinct Courthouse And Museum: https://historicalblackprecinct.org/

Dunns Josephine Hotel: http://dunns-josephinehotel.com/

Overtown Performing Arts Center: http://overtownpac.co/

Miami Grabbing Greater Slice of Tech Investment Pie

By staff writer

June 2019

Credit: Miami Dade College

Miami has historically been a diverse and attractive city for international investors.  With a high number of Latin American and international companies and solid real estate, tourism and trade industries, the city provides a unique ecosystem for tech and startup companies.

According to eMerge Americas’ 2018 eMerge Insights report, $1.38 billion was invested in South Florida startups through 128 deals over the last year. Furthermore, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area ranked 11th in the U.S. for venture capital investments by dollar volume, attracting international venture capital from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Denmark, UK, Japan, Latin America, China and more.

“There’s no question as to whether there’s a lot of startup activity down here,” Laura Maydon, managing director of Endeavor Miami, told Invest:. “On the tech side, we’ve seen progress in terms of the quantity of companies starting up, but there needs to be more investment activity locally. It’s part of the growth cycle of the ecosystem, and investment is always the last stage, since investors want to validate that there’s a solid pipeline in the city. If we look at South Florida’s development over the last five to seven years, the pipeline’s here,” she added.

A report from real estate firm CBRE, Scoring Tech Talent in North America 2018, showed an increase of 21.5% in Miami’s tech jobs, with the addition of over 4,000 tech-related positions.

The founder and managing director of venture capital firm Rokk3r Fuel ExO, Jeffrey Ransdell, told Invest: that he and his partners decided to start the company because they recognized there was a need for venture capital in Miami. “We also knew that Miami was going to be something special in the tech and startup space. Miami startup activity has been growing at an amazing rate of 100 percent over the last three years, so there is evidence that this is working. There is a lot of traction in Miami in this space right now. Everyone needs to keep their eye on Miami,” he said.

National trends are also reflected in South Florida’s tech activity and investments. For example, software continues to be at the forefront; 45% of the companies in South Florida receiving funding in 2018 offered software of some type, which follows national trends, according to the eMerge report. Healthcare is the most active industry; health-tech, medical devices and biotech startups encompassed 23% of the deals.

Miami is transforming into a tech-friendly city for startups and experts say the trend is only picking up steam. Although there is still some work to do, there is no doubt that Miami’s tech industry will play a key role in the local economy.

For more information on our interviewees, please visit their websites:

Endeavor Miami: https://endeavormiami.org/

Rokk3r Fuel ExO: https://www.rokk3rfuel.com/

CBRE: https://www.cbre.com/research-and-reports/Scoring-Tech-Talent-in-North-America-2018

eMerge Americas: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2716555/eMerge_Insights_Report-1.pdf

 

Capital Analytics Launches the 5th Anniversary Installment of the Invest: Miami Series!

Miami leaders highlight key sectors embracing innovation and technology at the launch of Invest: Miami 2019

Miami, FL – The disruption of innovation and technology in local key sectors such as real estate, infrastructure, healthcare and education were some of the focal points of the fifth edition of  Invest: Miami 2019. The official launch of the publication took place on May 23, 2019, at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus with over 350 people in attendance. This publication from Capital Analytics is a 192-page economic analysis that highlights Miami’s economy, key sectors and opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators. Miami’s real estate, tourism and trade and tech sectors, and the growth of the City of Miami, City of Doral and City of North Miami were among the focus points of the publication.

Jamal Sowell, President and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI), gave the keynote address, highlighting the influx of businesses to Miami and the state, as well as how the EFI makes sure they support the local workforce and organizations. “We try to anticipate what employers need and the trends in business. We are defining the talent pool needs for the next five, 10 and 50 years. The people you hire in Miami and South Florida need some basics skills that our talent pipeline should be developing. My job is to anticipate those needs and help shape the state policy to make sure we have put a premium on those strategic skills that we need for the future,” Sowell said.

Following a networking event, Capital Analytics hosted three in-depth discussion panels that addressed Miami’s real estate, education and healthcare and infrastructure sectors from an innovation perspective.

The first panel discussed some of the innovative trends in Miami’s real estate sector as well as ways the industry is including the latest emerging technologies. The panel was moderated by David Diestel, Regional President, South, for FirstService Residential. Panelists were Andrew Burnett, Senior Principal of Stantec Architecture; Carlos Chuman, Director of Finance and Asset Management for Riviera Point Invest + Develop; and Scott Lunine, Vice President and Regional Manager for Marcus & Millichap. Burnett discussed the growth of the local aging population and how architects will need to reshape their approach to the senior market and provide a more diversified product. Chuman noted essential innovations and tech tools a developer must have. And Scott spoke about how real estate brokers are addressing the needs of the new generations and new investors.

The second panel addressed the impact of new technologies in Miami’s healthcare and education sector, as well as efforts of local academic institutions to draw and retain top talent. The panel was introduced by Donna Ginn, Executive Council President of AARP Florida, and was moderated by Jack Miller, Regional Director of Capital Analytics. Panelists were Henri Ford, Dean and Chief Academic Officer of UM Miller School of Medicine; John Wensveen, Provost of Miami Dade College; Kate Black, shareholder at Greenberg Traurig; and Johannes W. Vieweg, Founding Dean of the College of Allopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University. Ford and Vieweg spoke about ways innovation is helping to keep recent graduates in Miami. Black highlighted innovative and emerging models of healthcare research and delivery that are trending among Miami’s health companies. And Wensveen explained how MDC, as a community and institution, is using innovative tools to train and retain talent.

The final panel focused on technology and innovation to meet infrastructure needs in Miami. The moderator was Steven Zelkowitz, Managing Partner of Fox Rothschild Miami office. Panelists were Carolyn Bermudez, Vice President and General Manager of Florida City Gas (FCG); Manuel Pila, Economic Developer of the City of Doral; Marlon Hill, member of the Board of Directors of Miami Parking Authority (MPA); and Luis Lugo, Senior Vice President of Hill International. Bermudez pointed out how FCG has improved its gas delivery system and that it has replaced and relocated older pipes with technologically advanced plastic pipes. Pila spoke about the City of Doral’s innovative transportation initiatives and ways cities and counties work together to create better connectivity. Lugo noted recent local growth in aviation, rail, transit and infrastructure projects. Hill explained ways the MPA is adapting to changes in the industry due to new technology.

“This is an exciting time to be in the Miami-Dade area as both the domestic and international profile of the city and region continue to rise and as we see a growing hunger to invest and the ever-increasing diversification of what Miami offers to both well-established organizations and to the entrepreneurially-minded,” said Miller in opening remarks for the event.

About Invest: Miami 2019:

Invest: Miami 2019 is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Miami-Dade’s economy, featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Miami 2019 is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on Miami to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Miami as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, trade and logistics, infrastructure and environment, banking and finance, healthcare, education and the arts, culture and tourism. This year, the publication also includes in-depth analysis on the cities of Miami, North Miami and Doral. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political figures and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market as well as covering emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Contact: Yolanda Rivas, Content Manager, yrivas@capitalaa.com

New Opportunity Zone Rules May Spur Greater Investment in Miami

By staff writer

April 2019

The new proposed regulations for opportunity zones issued by the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department earlier this month could unlock further real estate investment in Miami and give business investors a chance to reap greater profits.

The qualified opportunity zones are part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that passed in 2017 and were implemented last year, but they also build on tax breaks for what used to be referred to as “empowerment zones.” They seek to incentivize investment in distressed areas through relaxation of taxation on capital gains obtained through the sale of appreciated assets if those gains are reinvested in qualified opportunity funds. The new rules could drive development as well as property values.

Ronald Fieldstone, one of the partners of  Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, was bullish on the opportunity zones even before the new rules. Recently, he told Invest: Miami that there was  “tremendous opportunity”  in the designated areas.

“For instance, the area extending from the west side of Biscayne to the railroad tracks up to 36th Street is a booming opportunity zone. Most of Overtown is an opportunity zone, and you will see a lot of residential and multifamily development there. All of North Miami is an opportunity zone as well, and there is currently an almost 200-acre, mixed-use project being developed there.”

One of the most important updates under the new regulations is the definition of “substantially all.” Generally, the law requires a qualified opportunity fund to hold at least 90 percent of its assets in eligible stock, partnership interests or business property. For business property to be an eligible investment, the law specifies that “substantially all” of the fund’s tangible property must be held within an opportunity zone; however, “substantially all” was not originally defined. The new regulations provide an explicit definition: at least 70 percent of the fund’s tangible business property must be held within opportunity zones, it now says. This clear standard allows businesses and investors to easily know whether they qualify.
Investors can already avoid capital gains taxes on appreciation resulting from opportunity zone investments that they hold for more than ten years. However, the program expires in 2028, meaning that the cutoff to benefit is the recognition of capital gains by December 31, 2026 and reinvestment in a qualified opportunity fund by June 30, 2027. Under the new regulations, though, investors are entitled to hold their opportunity zone investments for a longer time than the original ten years when acquired near the program’s expiration in 2028, but also for another 10 years after expiration.

The new regulations also provide an important safe harbor from the requirement that 90 percent of a fund’s assets be held in eligible property categories. They provide that investing in businesses that are rehabilitating or constructing tangible business property in an opportunity zone, including real estate development companies, can count cash provided to those businesses toward the 90 percent requirement if they use the money for the project within 31 months.

The original opportunity zone regulations included a “50 percent Rule” which required that at least half of an opportunity zone business’s revenue had to be generated within an opportunity zone. Under the new regulations, businesses can qualify if at least 50 percent of the hours their employees work are within the zone, if it performs at least half of its services within the zone or if there are significant management and operational functions present within the zone.

Finally, the new regulations notably provide that the “original use” requirement for designating qualified opportunity zone business property will be disregarded in certain cases. In the original wording, used tangible property satisfied this requirement only if the property had not been previously placed in service in the qualified opportunity zone. Now, structures that have been vacant or abandoned for five years or more, or property acquired after December 31, 2017 under a market rate lease, counts as qualified opportunity zone business property.

In aggregate, these changes are likely to make the opportunity zone incentive program even more attractive to investors, thereby further promoting investment in the zones.

To learn more, please visit:

Opportunity Zones: Frequently Asked Questions

Opportunity Zones: New Rule Changes