Alex Flachsbart, founder and CEO of Opportunity Alabama, will provide an update on opportunity zones based on his presentation last year, “Opportunity Zones: Key Strategies for Winning in the Zone!” at the 20th Annual Alabama Commercial Real Estate Conference & Expo (ACREcom) on Friday, February 7, 2020, at The Club in Birmingham. This year, the conference’s theme is “Building the Future.”
Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts that meet the following criteria: a poverty rate of at least 20 percent and a median family income of less than 80 percent of the statewide or area median income. Hoping to incentivize investment in low-income areas through federal tax deferrals, Opportunity Zones were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Last year, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs identified 158 Opportunity Zones in Alabama, with at least one in each county.
As the founder of Opportunity Alabama, Flachsbart counsels governments, nonprofits, investors, lenders, and developers on how to incentivize and finance community development. His primary focus is on structuring and deploying creative capital stacks for industrial, commercial, and residential projects, particularly if those projects are in low-income areas. That focus extends to representing both developers and public entities in public-private partnerships to develop everything from student housing to public infrastructure. It also extends to identifying creative financing opportunities for public assets like hospitals and community facilities.
At the federal level, Flachsbart has experience working with borrowers, lenders, and the other intermediates on transactions involving New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, and various federal grant and loan programs. He has also written and spoken extensively on Opportunity Zones, a place-based tax incentive program designed to steer equity investments into certain communities, and is a member of a national working group dedicated to clarifying and deploying the program. At the state level, Flachsbart has experience in transactions involving Alabama’s Historic Tax Credit program, the Growing Alabama program, and various state and local incentive programs including tax revenue sharing, land acquisition and cash rebates via Amendments 666 and 772.
Flachsbart regularly works with economic development professionals and local communities to structure strategies to attract private investment. He identifies and helps his clients pursue potential funding opportunities for community revitalization, authoring almost $10 million in successful grant applications in the last two years alone. From downtown redevelopment to industrial site preparation, Flachsbart counsels his clients on how to use tools like Amendment 772, incentive and zoning policies, revolving loan funds, façade improvement programs, and various federal and state grants to drive economic development. Prior to founding Opportunity Alabama, Flachsbart was an attorney with Balch & Bingham, LLP. For more information about ACREcom, or to register, click here.