Developer shows the promise of tax reform-ushered Opportunity Zones

A prime example of urban development spurred by tax reform President Trump signed in 2017 is taking shape in southern California. Newport Beach real estate developer and investment manager Primior staged groundbreaking late last month on First Harbor Plaza, a 40,000-sq.-ft. restaurant, retail, office and medical property located in one of the busiest areas of Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles. The population within a five-mile radius of the property exceeds 750,000.

First Harbor Plaza Building 1 encompasses some 14,500 square feet in two large anchor suites and five smaller spaces on the first floor, with the same configuration on the second floor. RENDERING: Primior

The site is part of an Opportunity Zone as defined by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, whose authors aimed to help to revitalize economically distressed communities through private investment versus taxpayer dollars. Opportunity Zones have now been designated in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Taxpayers investing in a Qualified Opportunity Zone via an Opportunity Fund can benefit from capital gains tax incentives available exclusively through the program. Moreover, in comparison to other financing vehicles that encourage private investment in low-income areas through tax advantages, the Opportunity Zone program is less restrictive, costly and reliant upon government agencies.

“We are pleased to be developing one of the first properties of this type in Santa Ana under this important program,” says Primior CEO Johnney Zhang. “The positive impact this innovative financing model will have on the local community in terms of strong economic opportunities and an enhanced quality of life has led us to seek out areas where we can make a contribution.”