Four areas of City of Sarasota designated ‘Opportunity Zones’ for investment

Revitalization encouraged under aegis of federal program

This map shows the four zones. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Four economically distressed areas of the city of Sarasota soon could see long-term investment and job creation after being designated “Qualified Opportunity Zones” under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the city has announced.

The federal program “helps to revitalize low-income communities by providing tax advantages for private individuals and corporations” that invest in an Opportunity Zone Fund, a city news release explains. The program “encourages the private sector to reinvest capital gains from other investments into businesses and start-ups located in these Qualified Opportunity Zones,” the release adds.

The four zones, outlined here, mirror U.S. Census tracts; they were selected on the basis of poverty rate, family income, unemployment and other factors, the release explains.

“We want investors to know that these parts of our community, including the historic Newtown area, are open for business,” said Steve Stancel, the general manager of the city’s Economic Development Department, in the release. “Our hope is that the Qualified Opportunity Zones can be a powerful catalyst for job creation, attainable housing and economic revitalization.”

City staff identified and recommended six Census tracts in the city limits for consideration by former Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the release points out. About 8,700 Census tracts around the country qualified, the release says.