- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Opens Opportunity Zone Application Process
Colleen Arons , Communications Director
BOSTON, MA — The Baker-Polito Administration opened the process for Massachusetts cities and towns to apply for federal designation as an Opportunity Zone. The program will serve as an economic development tool for municipalities and will incentivize investment in low income areas by offering favorable federal tax treatment for investors. The program is designed to drive increased investment in local opportunities, with the potential to support business growth, housing, and commercial construction.
“Our administration is committed to helping cities and towns in Massachusetts unlock opportunities for private investments and economic growth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This program will allow municipalities across the Commonwealth to work collaboratively with investors to pursue developments that address their individual community needs.”
The federal Opportunity Zone program empowers the governor to nominate up to 138 census tracts for designation as Opportunity Zones. The eligible tracts are located in 110 municipalities across Massachusetts – from Provincetown to North Adams, and New Bedford to Haverhill.
“Partnering with local communities is essential for success at the local, regional, and statewide level,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We have engaged mayors, managers, and administrators over the past several weeks to develop a meaningful and practical approach to implementing the Opportunity Zone program that best aides our eligible cities and towns.”
To identify the tracts with investment and job growth potential, the Baker-Polito Administration facilitated conversations with leaders from the eligible municipalities to discuss the program, application process, and timeline. The brief application, now available online through March 22, allows local governments to propose a single tract, or a set of tracts, for designation. Applications will be evaluated based on potential opportunities within the zone, planning work done at the local level to prepare for success, and the need of the application area and the surrounding community.
“My time in Chelsea, and my work since, has shown how important planning and preparation are to future success,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Communities that have done significant planning work, that have already identified opportunities, and that are ready to solicit and help direct private investment are most likely to see real results out of the Opportunity Zone Program – and out of all of our other economic development programs. I look forward to working with communities as they seek to realize growth plans through this program, and the rest of the economic development toolbox at our disposal.”
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will collaborate with cities and towns with designated Opportunity Zone tracts to explore potential funding. Municipalities chosen for investment are responsible for drawing funds and capitalizing on the opportunities associated with the Opportunity Zone program. The Opportunity Zone program does not guarantee funding.
To ensure that regions across the state are able to use this tool, the Baker-Polito Administration will limit municipal applications to a maximum number of tracts:
- Communities with at least 15 eligible tracts may apply for designation for up to 20 percent of those tracts;
- Up to 10 percent of designations will be allocated to rural communities with populations lower than 10,000;
- All other communities may apply for designation for up to 2 of those tracts.
Information on tract eligibility can be found here.
Eligible municipalities should apply online by the March 22 deadline. Designated tracts will be announced in late April.
Municipalities Eligible for Opportunity Zone Tract Designation: