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New York State Recommends 514 Census Tracts for Designation Under Federal Opportunity Zone Program

Program Aims to Attract Investment to Under-Served Communities

Map of Designated Census Tracts Available Here

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced New York State has recommended 514 census tracts to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for designation as Opportunity Zones, a new federal community development program administered by Treasury.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “In New York State, we’ve focused on revitalizing our downtowns and investing in the communities that need it most. The Opportunity Zone Program will be a complementary initiative that helps to attract additional private investment to the hundreds of communities that Governor Cuomo has recommended for this designation.”

The federal program establishes 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.

The Governor may designate up to 25 percent of New York State’s low-income community census tracts as Opportunity Zones.  The U.S. Treasury identified over 2,000 eligible tracts in New York State eligible for designation, with the Governor able to designate up to 514 Opportunity Zones by April 20, 2018. Final nominations were made by Governor Cuomo and submitted to Treasury today.

For additional information on the 514 census tracts, visit https://esd.ny.gov/opportunity-zones.

To accomplish the State’s goal of submitting the best Zones in a limited time-frame, ESD engaged in a process that included participation from the ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs), ESD’s Regional Offices, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and the Department of State (DOS). The process entailed:

  1. Mapping the location of the many economic development investments the state has made (including Consolidated Funding Application, Upstate Revitalization Initiative, Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Restore New York, Buffalo Billion, Brownfield sites) in the eligible census tracts.
  2. Working with the REDCs and ESD Regional Offices to refine and select the recommended tracts for submission.   This process included:
    • Outreach to interested stakeholders for their input;
    • Incorporating public feedback from the website portal;
    • Working with local, state and federal elected officials; and
    • Determining the final recommendations based on level of distress, investment opportunity, local projects and an equitable geographic distribution.

NS Homes and Community Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "As part of Governor Cuomo’s comprehensive approach to community development, we are already making smart investments in our cities, towns and villages to create more vibrant, livable downtowns across New York State. With the Opportunity Zone Program, we will be able to increase our efforts and make New York a better place to live."

New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Governor Cuomo recognizes that targeted investments make thriving communities. Similar to the scope of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the areas identified are ripe for attention and revitalization. We are proud to be part of the effort to identify these designations and drive additional resources to make our communities better for all."

The 514 suggested census tracts will now be reviewed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which has 30 days to review and approve the nominated census tracts.

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 (www.esd.ny.gov). 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 www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov  and www.esd.ny.gov.



Jason Conwall | [email protected] | (518) 292-5107 | (800) 260-7313

Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313