Atlanta Gets Several New Opportunity Zones

Last week, Panasonic said it will establish the Panasonic Automotive Innovation Center in the Technology Square development located in the Midtown opportunity zone that was approved last fall.

Invest Atlanta, the city of Atlanta’s economic development agency, said Wednesday the state of Georgia has designated four new opportunity zones in the city.

One of the new opportunity zones is along Marietta Street between North Avenue and Andrew Young International Boulevard. The other new opportunity zones are in three industrial parks near Atlanta’s western edge north of Interstate 20.

New or existing businesses located within an opportunity zone are eligible for a yearly income tax credit of $3,500 for each new job created as long as they create at least two net new jobs. The annual tax credits are good for up to five years, meaning a business could be eligible for up to $17,500 in tax credits if they hired at least two new people per year.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, chairman of Invest Atlanta, was informed of the city’s new opportunity zones in a letter from Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Mike Beatty. The designations will be good for tax years 2012 through 2022 and can be renewed.

“Opportunity zones not only help create new jobs and new businesses with attractive tax incentives, they encourage new development in targeted areas across our city,” Mayor Reed said in a statement. “I am pleased that the state has designated these new opportunity zones as it will enable us and Invest Atlanta to offer even more appealing options to companies and entrepreneurs to do business in Atlanta.”

Georgia’s opportunity zone program enables local governments to apply for opportunity zone designation for any piece of property situated in or adjacent to an area where the poverty rate is 15 percent of higher.

“Opportunity Zones encourage economic development and help create jobs in areas where this activity otherwise might not occur,” said Brian P. McGowan, a Sherwood Forest neighborhood resident and president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, in a news release. “In other opportunity zones such as the City Hall East/Ponce City Market zone, we are seeing major investments being made that are creating scores of new jobs.”

Last fall, the state approved opportunity zone designations in Downtown, Midtown and at Fort McPherson, a former Army post that will be redeveloped. Southside Industrial Park also is an opportunity zone.

Last week, Panasonic said it will establish the Panasonic Automotive Innovation Center in Midtown’s Technology Square development. The center will be located in the Midtown opportunity zone, and Panasonic will be eligible for new-job tax credits for the new positions it creates there.

Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for the City of Atlanta. Its purpose is to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness in order to create increased opportunity and prosperity for the people of Atlanta.

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