After months of speculation, Amazon finally announced the locations of its two new headquarters: Long Island City, New York and Arlington, Virginia. This announcement has sparked interest among certain investors, particularly because the Long Island City offices will be located in an area that is part of one of New York’s Opportunity Zones. According to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and subsequent preliminary IRS and U.S. Treasury guidelines, investors in Opportunity Zones, such as Amazon, may be eligible for certain tax benefits if the Opportunity Zone investment meets certain guidelines.
Amazon’s new Opportunity Zone location has generated substantial feedback and many questions, with many wondering if the Long Island City headquarters will fulfill a major purpose of Opportunity Zones: economic benefits for people living and working in the area.
To help understand the potential impact of Amazon’s Opportunity Zone story, ThinkAdvisor recently spoke with Delegate Advisors President and Chief Advisor, Andy Hart. In the article, Hart states that the Amazon development could benefit local residents as long as the city established certain policies for Amazon to follow. For example, a ban on in-house cafeterias on the new Amazon campus could encourage the development of local restaurants and, as a result, more jobs for local residents.
Hart also describes how, depending on investor preferences, the most attractive Opportunity Zone investments may be located in the upper right-hand corner of a chart where the y-axis measures the financial health of the investment and the x-axis measures its social impact. “We’re trying to have both,” explains Hart, who notes that Opportunity Zones should be a “real boon to the real estate industry” while potentially sparking economic development.