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Higgins applauds NYS participation in federal Opportunity Zone Program


Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) welcomed the announcement that Empire State Development intends to participate in the Opportunity Zone Program.  Last month, in a letter to New York State leaders, Higgins encouraged the inclusion of Western New York neighborhoods in the program.

"Like federal New Markets and Historic Tax Credits, the Opportunity Zone program holds the promise of driving substantial new investments into struggling neighborhoods," said Higgins.  "We look forward to advancing this initiative as another tool available to continue the momentum contributing to Western New York's renaissance."

Standing in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, Higgins detailed the initiative and gave examples of the Western New York communities that could benefit:
  • The continued growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
  • Future phases of the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project on Buffalo's East Side.
  • The Broadway-Fillmore Historic District, including the redevelopment of the Buffalo Central Terminal.
  • Projects like the proposed Cooperage redevelopment along Ohio Street and Shea's Seneca on Seneca Street in South Buffalo.
  • The Bethlehem Steel redevelopment in Lackawanna, NY.
  • The Huntley plant site redevelopment in Tonawanda.
  • Downtown and Main Street redevelopment in Niagara Falls.
  • The ongoing redevelopment of the West Side of Buffalo, and Black Rock and Riverside.
  • Portions of Payne Ave. and Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.
  • Investments around the Cedargrove Heights neighborhood in Cheektowaga.
The Opportunity Zone program will allow investors to take the proceeds of profitable investments and move them to an Opportunity Fund, lowering the tax burden for investors and providing new resources for job creating investments in low-income communities.

Under the new policy, States may submit Opportunity Zone nominations to the U.S. Treasury on or before March 21, 2018.  States may only designate up to 25% of the census tracts that qualify.  After States submit nominations for Opportunity Zones, the Treasury Secretary will have 30 days to certify and designate based on submitted nominations.

Higgins is pushing for a minimum of 32 Census tracts in Erie and Niagara Counties to be included in the program.

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