ESD Announces Participation in New Opportunity Zone Program

Federal program aims to build investment in under-served communities

March 8, 2018

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that New York State is participating in the new Opportunity Zone community development program, offered through the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017.

The federal program will establish Opportunity Zones, or low-income census tracts, to boost private investment in under-served urban and rural communities. These census tracts may receive funding from Opportunity Funds, which allow a wide array of investors to pool their resources to rebuild distressed neighborhoods.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Participating in the Opportunity Zone Program demonstrates New York’s commitment to revitalize and develop local communities, which is a key component of our economic development strategy.”

New York State is currently reviewing eligible census tracts to be designated as Opportunity Zones. Public engagement is encouraged during the process and stakeholders can submit questions or suggestions through an online form accessible on the Opportunity Zone Program page. Final nominations will be made by Governor Cuomo, based on research and analysis provided by Empire State Development and New York State Homes and Community Renewal in conjunction with the Regional Economic Development Councils.

The nominations must be made by the Governor no later than April 20, 2018. When finalized, the U.S. Department of the Treasury will approve the nominated census tracts and administer the Opportunity Zone Program. For more information, including FAQs, census tract maps and the feedback form, click here.

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit  and


Jason Conwall | | (518) 292-5107
ESD Press Office | | (800) 260-7313