Call Us: 508-441-4622

New Bedford Now: City designated an “Opportunity Zone”


Weekly Briefing

A dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.

New Bedford is an Opportunity Zone

Looking for a place to escape paying capital gains taxes?

Forget the Cayman Islands.

Try New Bedford.

The U.S. Treasury, on the Baker administration’s recommendation, designated a big chunk of New Bedford an Opportunity Zone this past past week.

Opportunity Zones are specially designated areas, based on census tracts, around the country which are deemed eligible for a new tax incentive-based plan to attract investment in communities.

The idea is to create Opportunity Funds in the zones. The payoff for investors? They avoid capital gains taxes on money put into the Opportunity Funds, which are privately created.

The New York Times recently labeled the zones and funds “the hidden provision” tucked into the U.S. Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 championed by the Trump administration and signed into law late last year. They note, “If the zones succeed, they could help revitalize neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment” – if the money flows in.

Construction on Pleasant Street: Will an Opportunity Fund stimulate more private investment in New Bedford?

The plan within the tax cut was proposed by South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, but enjoyed bipartisan support. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker signed on to it, for example.

The concept itself came from the Economic Innovation Group, which was founded by Sean Parker of Napster, Facebook and Plaxo fame. (Take a deep dive here.)

Potential Opportunity Zones nationwide had to meet eligibility requirements based on census data. Governor Baker had to submit a list of possible census tracts to be considered for Opportunity Zones around Massachusetts.

Tracts within New Bedford (and others) met the criteria, and were officially recognized by the U.S. Treasury last week.

So, if you know anyone who is looking to avoid appearing in a Paradise Papers sequel, tell them the city is a sound investment.

New Bedford Seen/Scene

Acushnet Avenue in the North End is ready for the World Cup 2018.


New Bedford News

ROOMS WITH A VIEW: The Standard-Times’ Mike Bonner reports that the boutique New Bedford Harbor Hotel, soon to open on Union Street, has started accepting reservations for August.

THE GRAND PANORAMA: Yours truly reports that Kilburn Mills Studios on W. Rodney Street in the city’s south end will host a rare off-site exhibition from the Whaling Museum.

NEVER GIVE UP: It’s debatable as to who is more popular – The Baker on Pleasant Street or the Baker in the state house, as in Charlie.

But the democrats aren’t conceding the next election yet – though they may be testing voters’ patience with a Gubernatorial Candidates Forum from 12:00 P.M. – 2:00 p.m. at the Zeiterion Theatre – on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

They have also scheduled an Open Fair for 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The fair will at least have booths that offer Voter Registration Information, Candidate Advocacy briefing materials, a local Farmer’s Market and local Music.

Perhaps donuts from The Baker would help the cause? Just a thought…

Steven Froias