Newest Opportunity Zones Provide Attractive Incentives for Downtown

November 10,2011

Last week, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) approved Atlanta’s Opportunity Zone application for the Downtown and Midtown Atlanta sub-areas.  As the economic development arm of the city, the Atlanta Development Authority worked extensively last Fall with the Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development on submitting the application for this new job creation tool.

Earlier this year, DCA approved the first two zones; Southside Industrial Park and Ponce City Market (formerly City Hall East) and last month they approved the 488-acre Fort McPherson sub-area.  Twenty-eight other zones in the city were a part of the original application to DCA and are awaiting approval. 

“This is the type of program that gives Georgia a competitive advantage over other cities,” says Brian McGowan, President and CEO for the Atlanta Development Authority. “It will create jobs and make Atlanta more competitive as we seek to grow our economy by attracting new employers and growing our existing businesses. It’s just the kind of tool we need in these tough economic times to get people back to work and stimulate economic activity.”

The Downtown Opportunity Zone is bounded by Marietta Street/Decatur Street to the south, and North Avenue to the north, Centennial Olympic/Techwood on the West and Piedmont to the east, but also including the area within the Grady curve between Piedmont and the Interstate (I-75/85).

The zone includes the historic Fairlie-Poplar District and the Peachtree Corridor, which include the largest concentrated collection of commercial and office buildings in Atlanta from the early 19th to the late  20th centuries. The area is filled with a range of properties from retail storefront buildings to skyscrapers.

“The Downtown office and retail sub-market offers great value while providing  unmatched accessibility and a vibrant neighborhood environment,” says A.J. Robinson president of Central Atlanta Progress.  “This important job creation incentive only further enhances our competitive advantage.”

Also approved for the incentive is an area within Midtown Atlanta.  The Midtown Opportunity Zone can generally be described as the strip of land between the Connector (I-75/85) and West Peachtree bound on the north by the Spring Buford Highway Connector and running south to North Avenue.

“This is a valuable job-creation tool that comes at a great time,” said Kevin Green, President of the Midtown Alliance.  “The Opportunity Zone covers a portion of Midtown that is centrally located, highly accessible and primed for greater business and job creation.”

Opportunity Zones are an important state redevelopment tool that provide local companies with increased incentives and benefits for job creation. An Opportunity Zone allows companies located within its boundaries to receive $3,500 per job per year for five years: a total of $17,500, for every net new job created. Any legal business entity creating two or more jobs within one year could qualify for these credits.

Property owners and tenants can learn more about the Opportunity Zone by contacting the Georgia DCA at