Wilmington’s Opportunity Zone creates a unique opportunity for those looking to invest in a growing metropolitan area while simultaneously receiving tax incentives. Investors can defer tax on any prior gains so long as the gain is reinvested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund. If the investor holds the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years, the investor would be eligible for an increase in basis equal to the fair market value of the investment on the date that the investment is sold or exchanged.
The City of Wilmington seeks to partner with Opportunity Zone investors to drive transformative and equitable economic growth in the city’s business district and surrounding neighborhoods. Our development opportunities are numerous and diverse, ensuring that we have a right-size opportunity for investors seeking to make a difference through shovel-ready real estate projects and investment in Opportunity Zone businesses.
Specifically, the city wants to identify and support projects that meet strategic outcomes such as:
- Creating jobs or expanding employment opportunities for current and future residents;
- Providing market-rate multifamily housing opportunities;
- Eliminating blight through infill development of workforce housing and high quality affordable townhomes.
Downtown Office Development
With 7 million-plus square feet of office space and several co-working spaces, Wilmington stands ready for small and large businesses in need of 21st century connectivity. Wilmington’s Downtown District has an inventory of prime class office space ready for major renovation and fit-out. The Downtown Development District program provides a 20% rebate on qualified fit-out expenses providing an incentive for business investments unmatched in the region. Additional job creation incentives may be available, including a 10-year real estate tax abatement on improvements.
Over 1000 new residential units, three new hotels, and numerous outdoor and entertainment amenities make Wilmington’s Riverfront a premier neighborhood along the Christina River. A part of the South Market Street Master Plan, designed by renowned architect Robert A. Stern Associates, it is ready for large-scale, mixed-use development on prime waterfront real estate that is cleared and ready for construction. The Riverfront has received significant public investment, including a new $45 million bridge that will increase connectivity and spur additional development on the eastside of the Christina River.
Adding nearly 2000 units in the past 10 years, and expecting another 550 in 2019, Wilmington’s Downtown District residential market is gaining momentum. With occupancy rates greater than 92 percent and continued population growth expected, the city is primed for new workforce and market rate housing. Additional Downtown Development District grants may be available.
Scattered Light Manufacturing Sites Within the City there are sites that are ideally suited for light manufacturing uses. This could include the development of flex space, which will help to expand small manufacturing and growing industries such as advanced manufacturing. In addition, the scattered sites could be used to complement related logistics and distribution operations serving regional, national, and global markets. Notably, the Port of Wilmington, a full service deep water port and the busiest terminal on the Delaware River, is a key asset to tie into manufacturing operations.
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