Could ‘Opportunity Zones’ Reinvigorate South, West Sides?
Target announced last month it would be closing fives stores nationwide, and two of them — one in Chatham and one in Morgan Park — are on Chicago’s South Side. Residents there are lamenting the retailer’s disinvestment in those communities. As part of the federal tax reform law passed last December, an initiative called Opportunity Zones were created to help spur jobs and economic development in areas like Chatham and other Chicago neighborhoods with greater challenges, such as Englewood and Austin. Right now there are 135 federally designated opportunity zones in low income areas of Chicago. Chicago-based Origin Investments has created a fund that been investing in some of the Opportunity Zones not only in Chicago but other cities around the country. Michael Episcope is principal and co-founder at Origin Investments. He joined us to talk about what Origin is doing and the limitations of the Opportunity Zones program from an investor point of view.