Your opportunity zone investment needs to increase in value (when you sell it in 5-10 years) to make sense. Not all opportunity zones have real investment/growth potential. Many designated zones are truly distressed, are not really investment worthy, and are unlikely to attract capital gains investment funds. The key takeaway is: will the success of the project provide enough return for the capital gain investment?
Although a portion of the community is in a designated zone, Bemidji itself is NOT DISTRESSED, is growing (about 1% per year), and can provide choice investment sites in the qualified zone.
Yes, the city has lower than normal family income and poverty numbers, the reason why it obtained an opportunity zone designation. But these residential statistics are offset by a seasonal surge of tourists and lake cabin residents that come into the surrounding area lakes. Rich Siegert, local owner of the Hampton Inn and Doubletree Hotel, says the statistics actually hide the true Bemidji economic picture.
Historically the city downtown was centered largely between its lakes. In the late 70’s the Paul Bunyan Mall came in from outside and began to pull the city retail to its northwest location. The big box stores quickly followed. That was followed by Sanford Health acquiring the local hospital and making several major medical expansions. Now Delta Dental has built a nearby large facility and a new $42 million dollar veterans care facility is soon locating adjacent to the Sanford campus. Growth will continue toward the northwest but sites for development there are less and less available. From a retail standpoint the south side of the city was mostly ignored until the Sanford Event Center was built on the lake. Now that’s beginning to CHANGE the game for city expansion.