Conway, Arkansas Opportunity Zones




Introduction

What are Opportunity Zones?

Created as an investment vehicle through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) are census tracts nominated by state officials and approved by the federal government as areas for targeted economic development.

The overarching goal of QOZs is to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities by allowing investors to defer federal taxes on recent capital gains util December 31, 2026, and reducing that tax payment. Additionally, any profits are eligible for up to zero taxes paid, if the property is held for ten years. 

Corresponding Opportunity Funds (OFs) are managed by professionals and will be the vehicles by which reinvestment in low-income communities will occur. Individuals are also able to form fund and self manage an OF through a certification process.   QOZs have no impact on local or state tax revenue. In fact, they are intended to strengthen state and local tax bases.

Incentives

Temporary Tax Deferral

An investor is able to defer recognition of income associated with current capital gains realized, but not yet recognized for federal tax purposes by the private investor.  These capital gains are then reinvested into an OF. 

Basis Step-Up

Investors are given a step-up in the basis of any current capital gains reinvested into an OF. The private investor's basis in his or her original investment is increased by ten percent (10%) of the amount of unrecognized capital gain if the OF investment is held for a minimum of five (5) years, and fifteen percent (15%) if the investment is held for a minimum of seven (7) years. The step-up is to reduce the amount of the reinvested capital gain subject to tax.

Permanent Exclusion

Long-term investments are encouraged because private investors are granted a permanent exclusion of any future capital gain income realized upon the sale or exchange of an investment in an OF if the investment is held for at least ten (10) years. Thus, in such a case, a private investor would be permitted to exclude the entire amount of gain an investment accrues after the initial investment is made into an OF. 

Investment Period

Benefits

Less than 5 Years

Deferred payment of existing capital gains until the opportunity fund investment is sold or exchanged.

5-7 Years

Benefit above and 10% of tax on existing capital gain is canceled.

7-10 Years

Deferred payment of existing capital gains until December 31, 2026 or date the opportunity fund investment is sold or exchanged (whichever occurs first) and 15% of tax on existing capital gain is canceled.

Greater then 10 Years

Benefits of 7-10 year investment, and investors pay no capital gains tax on opportunity fund investment. Investments are exempt from any capital gains beyond those which were previously sold.


Investments

Real estate and businesses (LLCs, corporations, partnerships) located in within a QOZ are generally eligible for investment. Federal Treasury Regulations provide additional detail about qualifying investments. Generally:

1. Opportunity Funds may hold an interest in real estate located in QOZs (directly or through business entities) and develop real estate properties.

2. Opportunity Funds may generally invest in for-profit entities located in QOZs (i.e., start-up technology companies in business accelerators or incubators).

3. Investments must meet certain substantial improvement requirements. Details of these requirements are set forth in the Federal Treasury Regulation.

Example

In 2018, an individual investor sells 1,000 shares of Amazon stock that they purchased in 2013 for$250,000. The sale at $1,250 per share results in a $1 million capital gain. Instead of paying the $238,000 in federal capital gains tax on this sale, the investor rolls their $1 million gain into aan OF that invests the capital in newly issued preferred stock shares of various operating businesses located in Opportunity Zones with a plan to liquidate the fund in 2028. The assumed value of this investment in 2028 is $2 million.

The benefits received by this investor include:

1. Investing $1 million instead of the  $762,000 that would be remaining if the capital was not re-invested into an OF.

2. Paying $202,300 in taxes in 2026 instead of paying $238,000 in 2018.

3. Owing no additional tax on the $1 million in capital gains on the Opportunity Fund investment realized in 2028.

Source: New Markets Support Company OZ FAQ

Faulkner County, AR

Zoning & Maps

Existing zoning allows for a variety of uses across Conway's three opportunity zones including commercial, industrial, residential, and office. Central Landing, a CDC-owned, 150+ acre mixed-use development, is one of the most attractive investment opportunities Conway has to offer. Use this interactive map to explore our opportunity zones.

Conway QOZ

Amenities

Conway: The City of Colleges

Overview

The northernmost city in the metro area, Conway, is known as the City of Colleges for its three institutions of higher education. Conway offers a young and educated workforce, high quality of life, low cost of living, and a diverse community and economy. The median age is 28.5 years, compared to 37.8 nationally. 

Ninety-four percent (94%) of Conway residents have a high school diploma or equivalent, and nearly thirty-eight percent (38%) 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Conway (approximate population 67,000) is the secondary job market of the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway MSA (approximate population 734,000). 

Education

Education has been Conway’s cornerstone since its early days. In the last two years, U.S. News has ranked Hendrix College and University of Central Arkansas among its Best National Liberal Arts Colleges and Top Public Universities, respectively. Both institutions contribute to the city having 38% of adults 25 and older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. While the term “college town” is sometimes detrimental, Conway’s partnerships with its three institutions of higher learning earned the city recognition as the 2nd best college town by Southern Living in 2016.

Affordability

Among Conway’s many benefits, affordability is its most important factor. CBS News ranked Conway as its #8 Top cheapest places to live in the U.S. Furthermore, U.S. News and World Report ranked nearby Little Rock as its 18th Best Affordable Place to Live in 2018. Conway has been recognized for its affordability in terms of how it translates to rising entrepreneurs. Forbes ranked Conway among 7 Places so Cheap You Can Afford to be an Entrepreneur in 2017.

A Place for Everyone

Conway’s commitment to education at every level has transformed the city into a family-oriented community. In 2015, Nerd Wallet ranked Conway as the 7th best small city for working parents. While the community is built on families, education and jobs, Conway is also recognized as a notable presence for the young workforce growing up in its schools, and graduating from its colleges. Jetty National ranked the city as the 17th best city for millennial job seekers. This diverse range of ages and demographics blend to produce a unique and generous community, recognized by Travelocity in 2016 as the 3rd most giving city in the U.S.






Conway Development Corporation (CDC)

Organized in 1959, the Conway Development Corporation attracts jobs, retains businesses, and generates economic development in Conway and Faulkner County. The CDC is responsible for recruiting new businesses to Conway, helping existing businesses expand, and developing and marketing job-creating real estate.

CDC Staff

Brad Lacy, CCE, IOM

President & CEO

Jamie Gates, CCE

Executive Vice President

Laura Grimes, IOM

Chief Financial Officer

Corey Parks

Director of Economic Development

Isaac Sims

Director of Community Development & Planning


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