HUD – 12-15-20 Webinar on Opportunity Zones 1-3 PM EST – Leveraging Public and Private Resources

Check Out tomorrow’s HUD webinar on OZs – If Opportunity Zones are of interest to you, come and join the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and HUD for the third session of “Bolstering Growth in Opportunity Zones: Leveraging Public and Private Resources” focused on establishing policy tools and incentives, partnering with aligned organizations and measuring the impact, tomorrow, Tuesday, December 15, 2020 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM EST.

Registration is still open for Session 3: Develop Your OZ Action Plan to Build or Strengthen Your Local OZ Ecosystem.

Confirmed Speakers:
• Marc Alexander, Vice President, Investment Services, Invest Atlanta
• Stacy Cumberbatch, Managing Director, Blended Impact Labs
• Sherri Francois, Chief Impact Officer, SoLa Impact
• Ajit Mathew George, Founder, Second Chances Farm, LLC
• Dr. Eloisa Klementich, CEcD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Invest Atlanta
• Catherine Lyons, Director of Policy, Economic Innovation Group
• Dr. Leonard Mills, Chief Executive Officer, Verte Opportunity Fund
• Daffney Moore, Chief Opportunity Zone Officer, St. Louis Development Corporation
• Dr. Brien Walton, Chief Executive Officer, Acadia Capital Management, LLC

You must have a HUD Exchange account to register. Follow these instructions for registering.

Duane Morris has an active Opportunity Zone Team to help organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and invest in Opportunity Zones and low income areas throughout the USA, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We have closed over 61 OZ deals since their inception and are actively working on over 38 OZ projects for owner/developers, investors and business owners.  We would be happy to discussion your proposed project with you.  Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Art Momjian, Scott Gluck, Lee Potter, Keli Isaacson Whitlock, AK Kastrinakis, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

ESG – United Airlines makes significant carbon sequestration Joint Venture investment – with a goal to be 100% carbon neutral by 2050

Carbon SequestrationUnited Airlines announced earlier today, Thursday, December 10, 2020 that it is making a “multi-million dollar investment” into carbon capture and sequestration technology, a move they say will help them reach a goal of 100% carbon-free by 2050.

United said it is developing the carbon sequestration technology through a joint venture  with Occidental and Rusheen Capital Management.

Known as “direct air capture,” the technology is intended to capture carbon dioxide from the air and, thereafter, store it underground.

“As the leader of one of the world’s largest airlines, I recognize our responsibility in contributing to fight climate change, as well as our responsibility to solve it,” reads a statement from United Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby.

Per NJ Biz, United is one of the largest employers in New Jersey, and uses Newark Liberty International Airport as one of its major hubs. Their air traffic makes up close to 70% of the flights in and out of the airport.

Airlines typically account for approximately 3% of worldwide carbon emission, even with the significantly reduced COVID-19 pandemic impacted travel. 

If airlines were all aggregated together and compared to countries internationally, they would place 6th out of all countries in the world in terms of negative emissions impact.  Moreover, while aircraft have become much more fuel efficient since the 1970’s, they have significantly increased their collective emissions – increasing by 70% the amount of carbon emissions from 2005 to 2020.

The Murphy administration’s announced goal is to move NJ towards a 100% clean and renewable sourcing of energy by 2050, including solar and offshore wind capacity.

Duane Morris has an active Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Team to help clients and NGOs, respond to, and evaluate ESG, sustainability, energy efficiency and climate change risks, regulations and mandates as well as counsels on how to structure investments in various verticals that are creating technology that responds to the issues posed by Climate Change and ESG.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Seth Cooley, David Amerikaner or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

New Markets Tax Credits – Record Number of 2020 Applications; $5B in credits to be awarded

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced earlier this week that it received 208 applications under the calendar year (CY) 2020 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program).

Per Treasury, the NMTC Program advances economic development in economically distressed communities by making tax credit allocations available to Community Development Entities (CDEs) for targeted investments in eligible areas.

The CDEs that applied under the CY 2020 round are headquartered in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These applicants requested an aggregate total of $15.1 billion in NMTC allocation authority, over 3x the $5.0 billion in authority available for the 2020 round.

Created by Congress in December of 2000, the NMTC Program permits individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making qualified equity investments in CDEs. The investor is provided a tax credit that equals 39% of the cost of the investment and is claimed over a seven-year period. Substantially all of the taxpayer’s investment must be used by the CDE to make qualified investments in low-income communities.

According to Treasury statistics, through the first 16 rounds of the NMTC Program, the CDFI Fund has made 1,254 awards totaling $61 billion in tax credit allocation authority. This $61 billion includes $3 billion in Recovery Act Awards and $1 billion of special allocation authority to be used for the recovery and redevelopment of the Gulf Opportunity Zone.

Duane Morris has an active Tax Credits and Opportunity Zone Team to help CDCs and other organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and invest in typical deals as well as Opportunity Zones and low income areas throughout the USA, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We have closed over 61 OZ deals since their inception and are actively working on over 38 OZ projects for owner/developers, investors and business owners.  We would be happy to discussion your proposed project with you.  Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Art Momjian, Scott Gluck, Lee Potter, Keli Isaacson Whitlock, AK Kastrinakis, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

PSEG invests in a 25% interest of Ocean Wind – the $1.7B Wind Project off the NJ Coast

Public Service Enterprise Group announced earlier today, Friday, December 4, 2020, that it will invest in a 25% share of Ocean Wind, the $1.7 billion, 1,100-megawatt wind energy project off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Ocean Wind is owned by Ørsted North America, and is anticipated to provide 500,000 households with energy when operational.

It’s the first of three tranches of 7,500 megawatts in offshore wind the Murphy administration is aiming to have in the state’s energy capacity by 2050.

The operation and maintenance of the Ocean Wind facility is expected to create over 65  full-time jobs during the 25-year lifecycle of the project, according to Gabriel Martinez, a spokesperson for Ørsted.

In June, according to NJBIZ, Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a 200-acre “wind port” in Salem County on the Delaware Bay, where the wind turbines will be produced and shipped out across the Jersey Shore.

The facility will be located in Lower Alloway Creek Township, adjacent to PSEG’s Hope Creek Nuclear Generation Station – at a facility PSEG already owns.  The site is within a mile of a designated federal Opportunity Zone and could spur some additional development within the nearby zone.

Duane Morris has an active Opportunity Zone Team to help CDCs and other organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and invest in Opportunity Zones and low income areas throughout the USA, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We have closed over 45 OZ deals since their inception and are actively working on over 54 OZ projects for owner/developers, investors and business owners.  We would be happy to discussion your proposed project with you.  Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Scott Gluck, Lee Potter, Keli Isaacson Whitlock, AK Kastrinakis, Art Momjian or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Treasury awards $204.1M in CDFI Funds to Low Income Native American Communities

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced and awarded 397 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) $204.1 million in awards.

The awards, through the fiscal year (FY) 2020 round of the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program), will enable CDFIs to increase lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities across the nation.

“I am proud to announce the fiscal year 2020 CDFI Program and NACA Program Award Recipients,” said CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris. “These organizations are providing vital economic development and financial services to neighborhoods, businesses, and families. I am especially proud that we have 91 new organizations receiving awards this year, expanding the opportunity of this program to even more communities across the country.”

The CDFI Program invests in and builds the capacity of CDFIs to serve low-income people and communities lacking adequate access to affordable financial products and services.

For the FY 2020 CDFI Program round, the CDFI Fund awarded $142.8 million in Base-Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards to 357 organizations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In addition to the Base-Financial Assistance awards, the CDFI Fund will also provide the following supplemental Financial Assistance awards:

• $22 million to 13 CDFIs through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative-Financial Assistance (HFFI-FA) awards, a supplemental program designed to encourage investments in businesses that provide healthy food options for communities;

• $4 million to 17 CDFIs through the Disability Funds-Financial Assistance (DF-FA) awards, a supplemental program designed to help CDFIs finance projects and services that will assist individuals with disabilities; and

• $18.5 million to 106 CDFIs through the Persistent Poverty Counties-Financial Assistance (PPC-FA) awards, which is a supplemental program designed to encourage investments in Persistent Poverty Counties nationwide.

The NACA Program facilitates the creation and advancement of Native CDFIs, which are Certified CDFIs that must predominantly serve Native American, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian communities. A diversity of institutions in various stages of development are supported by the NACA Program, including: organizations in the early planning stages of CDFI formation; tribal entities working to certify an existing lending program; and established Native CDFIs in need of further capacity building assistance.

Per Treasury’s press release, the CDFI Fund awarded $15.2 million in FY 2020 NACA Program Base-Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards to 40 organizations in 18 states. In addition, the CDFI Fund awarded $1.6 million in NACA Program PPC-FA awards to 11 Native CDFIs.

Duane Morris has an active Opportunity Zone Team to help CDCs and other organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and invest in Opportunity Zones and low income areas throughout the USA, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We have closed over 45 OZ deals since their inception and are actively working on over 54 OZ projects for owner/developers, investors and business owners.  We would be happy to discussion your proposed project with you.  Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Scott Gluck, Lee Potter, Keli Isaacson Whitlock, AK Kastrinakis, Art Momjian or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

 

Bill to require the SBA to train Field Representatives regarding Opportunity Zones and OZ Benefits introduced in the House

Reps. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., and William Timmons, R-S.C., introduced the Increasing Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2020 (H.R. 8120).

According to Novogradac, the Bill would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to train representatives on the opportunity zones (OZ) incentive. Trained field representatives would serve as a point of contact for OZ questions and resources, educate elected leaders within their areas and hold an annual seminar in each state to educate managers of qualified opportunity funds, qualified opportunity zone businesses, state and local government officials and other interested persons on how to benefit from OZ investments.

The director of each SBA regional office would be required to submit an annual report on the success of trained field representatives, including any problems and best practices.

Continued positive steps by the House and the White House on directing various federal agencies to prioritize resource allocations and program dollars to help low income areas in various OZs throughout the US, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Duane Morris has an active Opportunity Zone Team to help organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and invest in Opportunity Zones throughout the USA, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We have closed over 45 OZ deals since their inception and are actively working on over 54 OZ projects for owner/developers, investors and business owners.  We would be happy to discussion your proposed project with you.  Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Scott Gluck, Lee Potter, Keli Isaacson Whitlock, AK Kastrinakis, Art Momjian or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

Federal GSA prioritizes Opportunity Zones for Owned and Leased Assets – Wow!

On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) announced that it will increase its investment in opportunity zones with owned and leased federal buildings, following an executive order that President Donald Trump signed Monday.

The order directed the GSA to prioritize opportunity zones and other distressed communities in federal agency moves to help bring new economic activity to the neighborhoods and to save taxpayer money by occupying more affordable real estate.

“We are excited to now officially include qualified Opportunity Zones in the list of priorities we formally assess when selecting sites,” GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a release. “Yesterday’s Executive Order is consistent with GSA’s long term role in spurring economic development within the communities where our buildings are located.”

The GSA owns or leases 376.9 Million Square feet in 9,600 buildings in over 2,200 communities. As the GSA is the largest owner and user of space in the US by far, this is a very significant development in OZ world.

The opportunity zone program was passed into law in 2018 as a way to incentivize investors to place their equity investments into underserved communities. According to BisNow, beyond using the government’s real estate footprint, the Trump administration has sought to support the opportunity zone program through other methods. The Department of Education last week launched a grant program to help institutions of higher education recover from the coronavirus crisis, and it gives priority to applicants who expand educational access to students in opportunity zones.

Duane Morris has an active Opportunity Zone Team to help organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and invest in Opportunity Zones throughout the USA, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We have closed over 45 OZ deals since their inception and are actively working on over 54 OZ projects for owner/developers, investors and business owners.  We would be happy to discussion your proposed project with you.  Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Scott Gluck, Lee Potter, AK Kastrinakis, Art Momjian or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

Whopper of a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Allocation from US Treasury ($3.5B) – these funds can be matched with OZ Funds

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced $3,548,485,000 in New Markets Tax Credits that are intended to spur investment and economic growth in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide.

A total of 76 Community Development Entities (CDEs) were awarded tax credit allocations, made through the calendar year (CY) 2019 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program).

“Today’s action demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to promoting economic growth and jobs in distressed communities, and to ensuring that every American can get back to work as quickly as possible,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

”For almost 20 years, the New Markets Tax Credit has attracted private capital into businesses and communities as they recover from significant shocks to our economy,” said CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris. “Projects that spur job creation, enable access to technology infrastructure and develop community facilities like federal qualified health centers, are examples of how New Markets Tax Credit investments are especially critical for low-income communities across the country.”

The 76 CDEs receiving awards were selected from a pool of 206 applicants that requested an aggregate total of $14.7 billion in tax credit allocation authority. The award recipients are headquartered in 30 different states and the District of Columbia. One-fifth (20%) of the investments will be made in rural communities. It is estimated that these award recipients will make more than $706 million in New Markets Tax Credit investments in non-metropolitan counties.

Yesterday’s announcement brings the total amount awarded through the NMTC Program to $61 billion. Historically, NMTC Program awards have generated $8 of private investment for every $1 invested by the federal government.

Through the end of fiscal year 2018, the most recent data available, NMTC Program award recipients deployed nearly $52.5 billion in investments in low-income communities and businesses; with impacts such as the creation or retention of more than 836,000 jobs, and the construction or rehabilitation of more than 218.3 million square feet of commercial real estate.

As we have discussed here before, NMTC funds CAN be matched with Opportunity Zone equity as OZ deals can stack with other tax programs to really drive a return for OZ projects.  Worthy of consideration. 

If you have any questions about this blog post or other NMTC or OZ questions, do not hesitate to reach out, we are happy to discuss at your convenience.  Be well and stay safe. 

IRS issues new Opportunity Zone Guidance and Provides Additional Time and Flexibility

Thanks to the urging of Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), the IRS issued revised guidance in Notice 2020-39 and provided some additional flexibility for Opportunity Zone investors and Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds.

The key take aways are as follows:

1. EXTENSION OF 180-DAY INVESTMENT PERIOD: Under the OZ regulations, an individual who realizes a gain, is required to invest that gain into a QOF within 180-days of realizing the gain (or such other date as outlined in the regulations). The new relief provides for the 180-day investment period to be automatically extended until December 31st, 2020 if it would have originally expired after April 1st, 2020 and before December 31st, 2020. Example: If any individual realized a gain on 12/15/2019, their investment period would have expired in May, 2020. That date is now automatically extended to December 31st, 2020.

2. EXTENSION OF 90% TEST FOR QOF: Under the OZ regulations, a QOF in required to invested 90% of its assets into qualifying opportunity zone property within 6 months and at the end of the taxable year (i.e., December 31st for a calendar year QOF). If the 90% test is not met, then the QOF is subject to penalties on a portion of the funds in the QOF. The new relief provides that if either the first 6 month testing date or the final year end testing date occurred between April 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2020, then the failure to satisfy the 90% test is deemed to be due to reasonable cause and, as such, no penalties will be levied.

3. EXTENSION OF 30 MONTH SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT TEST: Under the final OZ regulations, one of the way tangible property qualifies as qualified opportunity zone business property is to meet the “substantially improved” test within 30 months of acquisition. The new relief provides for a tolling of the 30-month period beginning April 1st, 2020 and ending December 31st, 2020. In other words, properties that are acquired during or that have previously been acquired within an opportunity zone after 1-1-18 and which are under construction will be provided with an additional 9 months to satisfy the substantial improvement test.

The Notice also discusses the 12 month reinvestment requirement upon a sale and the up to 24 months of additional time under a “working capital plan” for properties located within federal declared disaster areas (note, all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Guam have been declared federal disaster areas in connection with COVID-19).

If you have any questions or thoughts, please do not hesitate to reach out via email or text to my cell.  Best regards and be well. 

A copy of the IRS Notice can be found here – IRS Notice 20-39

Over and out from the Land of OZ.  -Brad

From the Land of OZ – 24 pages of clarifying OZ regulations from Treasury

Good morning/afternoon friends and hope you and yours are doing well and staying healthy in these trying times.

A potential ray of sunshine – which is still being reviewed. Yesterday, without a lot of fanfare or warning for that matter, the Treasury Department issued 24 pages of clarifying regulations to the Opportunity Zone Program.

Unfortunately, rather than state what the impact of the changes were intending to do, the release replaces this word with that word and this time period with that time period. Our team is working on the import of the language changes and will have an explanatory Alert put together in the coming days but wanted folks to be aware in case they want to read it for themselves in the interim.

For you industrious types (I know who you are :)) – https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-07013.pdf.

Happy to discuss any questions or concerns on this or other topics or just to catch up and see that you are doing ok, just email at bamolotsky@duanemorris.com.

Stay safe. Be vigilant.