Applications are now open for Opportunity Appalachia, a regional initiative (WV, OH, and VA) to encourage Opportunity Zone investment in Central Appalachian communities. The initiative is recognized by Forbes as one of the top 20 catalysts in the nation for “sparking the equitable revitalization of distressed communities identified as Opportunity Zones.”
Up to 5 West Virginia-based communities, projects, and/or developers located in Opportunity Zones will receive technical assistance resources averaging $50,000 (each) to develop community strategies and structure investable transactions, create prospectus and pitch decks targeting Opportunity Fund investors, and other services. There are 55 areas located across West Virginia designated as Opportunity Zones.
Appalachian Community Capital is the Opportunity Appalachia program manager. The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and West Virginia Community Development Hub are the lead state partners administering the program in West Virginia.
Access Opportunity Appalachia
For more information about the Opportunity Appalachia initiative, to view an interactive map of designated Opportunity Zones in West Virginia, and to access the program application, visit: http://appalachiancommunitycapitalcdfi.org/oa-program/.
Applications are due March 2, 2020 at 5:00 pm.
Support is available for West Virginians who are interested in applying to the Opportunity Appalachia program.
Any interested parties are encouraged to reach out to the WV Community Development Hub’s special projects coordinator Andrew Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please direct all questions about Opportunity Appalachia to Andrew Davis at email@example.com. Andrew can also support with connecting any interested applicants to coaching support.
/ If my county isn’t listed as an Opportunity Zone, will there be another chance to get added in the future? In short, will Opportunity Zones be expanded?
This decision is up to the federal and state governments. As of now, there is no stated plan from federal or state government to designate additional Opportunity Zones.
/ Has someone developed a “how-to” guide to help explain Opportunity Zones to people in laymans terms?
Yes. The Internal Revenue Service, as well as groups like Economic Innovation Group and Local Initiatives Support Corporation have created websites that can help explain Opportunity Zones in plain terms and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
/ How do Opportunity Zones funds work with New Market Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits? Or do they at all?
There are limited examples because Opportunity Zones are still so new. Most discussion of this topic is currently rhetorical. Here are some resources that may be helpful:
- Stacked Incentives: NMTC Eligibility and Opportunity Zones – PolicyMap
- Pairing NMTCs with Opportunity Zone Incentives
- Opportunity Zones and New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) Interactive Map
/ Could you provide more information on the single project/single investor process?
If you are interested in using this process, contact Andrew Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to expert resources.
/ What are the 3 projects in WV that are currently utilizing an Opportunity Fund?
Currently, there are projects in Morgantown and Huntington that are utilizing Qualified Opportunity Funds for investment. These have all been private developments.
/ Are there any communities offering incentive programs aimed at attracting entrepreneurs to relocate their businesses into Opportunity Zones?
The potential for Opportunity Zone investment could be an attractive incentive for business owners looking to relocate their operations. We are encouraging Opportunity Appalachia applicants to consider methods to leverage Opportunity Zones as a creative way to facilitate community and economic development.
/ How can the creative industry and other economic drivers be included in the applications for Opportunity Appalachia?
A strong application for any project will communicate how it will impact the surrounding community and influence additional projects. Applicants are encouraged to include additional policy, business, and development incentives which may benefit their project in their applications. Any application based on community and market demands will be a stronger application.