Utah becoming a National Leader in Opportunity Zone Best Practices

Patrick Mullen and Opportunity Zones in Utah

On Thursday March 18, UAC’s Opportunity Zone and Financial Incentives Director Patrick Mullen joined Margaret Anadu, Partner, Head of Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, David Lang, Partner, Head of Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City office, and Nick Fritz, Director, Impact Analytics and Social Innovation at Sorenson Impact Center for a panel discussion entitled Impact Investing: Leveraging Opportunity Zones to Catalyze Inclusive Community Development.

Hosted by the Utah Black Chamber and Goldman Sachs, the event was designed to share information on what the state of Utah, in partnership with UAC, is doing regarding Opportunity Zones (OZ’s). Attended by a variety of financial services professionals, real estate developers, and civic leaders, the event was also an excellent opportunity to showcase what UAC is doing to cultivate and build a marketplace for OZ investing across the 18 counties that house the state’s 46 opportunity zones.

According to Mullen, Utah is emerging as a leader among states across the nation thanks largely to work UAC has been doing to connect local communities with the resources and tools needed to make these types of investments a reality. 
“Having someone of Margaret’s stature in our state to discuss OZ best practices is a real signal that national investors are paying attention to what is happening in Utah” said Mullen. “It shows that our efforts are being recognized not only at the local level but are beginning to be held up as a best practice around the nation.”

The Opportunity Zones incentive was created as part of the 2017 tax reform legislation. The incentive’s goal is to direct hundreds of billions of dollars of investment into low-income or overlooked communities. However, with over 8,700 zones across the country many local communities have been left wondering how to engage with OZ investors, how to communicate what their economic development needs are, and how to “stand-out” amongst the crowded the nationwide marketplace. Mullen is working to change this and is in the midst of a statewide “roadshow,” putting in hundreds of road miles to visit with counties in order to take full advantage of this program.
“I love getting out in the counties. We have some really dedicated public officials who understand how important opportunity zones could be for their community, and together we are working to ensure it becomes a powerful tool for community development.”