Metrocenter, Desert Sky Mall Among Phoenix Opportunity Zones

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 5:05am
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 10:52pm
Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ
Several major retailers have left the Metrocenter area in recent years.
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Metrocenter's property manager said the mall was 67% occupied in June 2019.

Phoenix hopes to cash in on a provision in the federal tax bill approved by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump two months ago. The city has identified nearly 50 areas as opportunity zones.

To qualify as an opportunity zone, at least 20 percent of the population must live below the poverty line or the median family income must be less than 80 percent of the metro area’s median family income.

Phoenix identified approximately 184 census tracts that met the financial guidelines and narrowed the list to 46 tracts. They include Deer Valley, Paradise Valley Mall, Metrocenter, Desert Sky Mall, downtown and South Mountain.

Phoenix Economic Development Director Chris Mackay said the program would defer or possibly forgive capital gains taxes for private investment in the zones.

“It could be infrastructure, it could be buildings, industrial buildings, retail, multi-family, it could be single family residential,” she told council members. “It’s also investment in early stage and mature companies that is allowed as part of these investments.”

Councilman Sal DiCiccio said, “This could literally be one of the most significant things investment-wise in our community that we’ve ever seen.”

Phoenix will submit its list to the state, which will forward it to the Department of Housing and Urban Development next month. Then, the Treasury will issue final rules for the program.