Opportunity Zones

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Opportunity Zones refer to a federal program created in 2017 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage long-term private investment in Census tracts in low-income urban, suburban and rural census tracts.

In Virginia, the zones were selected by Governor Ralph Northam based on data from the 2015 and 2016 American Community Survey.

The zones are in place until December 31, 2028. [1]

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Albemarle County

Two census tracts in Albemarle qualify. They are 51003010700 (Rio/Hydraulic Zone) and 51003011302 (5th Street Zone). The Albemarle County Economic Development office handles inquiries about the zones. [2]

The Rio/Hydraulic Zone covered the Shops at Stonefield, which began to be developed in the early 2010's and had some development potential left. [3]

The 5th Street zone contains the Southwood site whose redevelopment is being overseen by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. Developer Kyle Redinger took advantage of the zone to finance the Albemarle Business Campus project. [4]


Two census tracts in Charlottesville qualify. They are 51540000401 and 51540000501. Friendship Court is within one of the zones.


There were several critiques of the zones, including the potential for displacement of existing residents. There was also a lack of clarity in the regulations, a concern that investment would benefit those with higher incomes, and speeding up of gentrification. [5]



  1. Web. Governor Northam Announces Federal Designation of 212 Qualified Opportunity Zones, Press Release, May 24, 2018, retrieved April 27, 2021.
  2. Web. Opportunity Zones, Website, Albemarle Economic Development Office, retrieved April 24, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. Four local Opportunity Zones poised for an influx of investment, Melissa Castro, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, July 5, 2018, retrieved April 27, 2021.
  4. Web. Development Digest: Opportunity Zone convinces developer to go more ambitious on Old Lynchburg Road, Emily Hays, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 13, 2019, retrieved January 22, 2021.
  5. Web. Opportunity Zones: 5 Things You Need To Know, Mary Margaret Frank and Ben Cullop, Website, Institute for Business in Society, February 29, 2019, retrieved April 27, 2021.
  6. Web. [http://weblink.charlottesville.org/public/ElectronicFile.aspx?docid=796183&dbid=0 Charlottesville Economic Development Authority (CEDA) Meeting Minutes – May 14, 2019], Minutes, Charlottesville Economic Development Authority, retrieved April 27, 2021.
  7. Web. Investors yet to take advantage of program to help redevelop Friendship Court, Henry Graff, News Article, January 2, 2020, retrieved April 24, 2021.

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