Downtown Suffolk gets revitalization opportunity

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A small section of downtown Suffolk has been nominated by Gov. Ralph Northam as one of 212 Opportunity Zones in the state.

The zone includes the area south of the Norfolk Southern Main Rail line, north of Suffolk Industrial Park, east of Lake Kilby and west of Factory Street, according to Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes.

An opportunity zone is an “economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment,” according to the IRS website.

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These opportunity zones were added to spur economic development in communities and having preferential tax treatment makes investing in an area more attractive to potential investors. Having opportunity zones will also assist in job creation.

“This could serve as a financial incentive for developers looking for development and redevelopment opportunities in Suffolk,” Hughes said in an email.

Opportunity zones were created from the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, but the benefits of the zones won’t be available until they are formalized on the federal level later this calendar year.

The U.S. Treasury Department must respond to Northam’s nominations in 30 days from the original announcement. According to a press release from the Governor’s office, they expect all of the nominations to be accepted and approved as submitted.

The 212 nominations make up 23 percent of all of the eligible low-income areas in the state.