Today, the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) released a new paper, "Opportunity Zones: State of the Marketplace," that we hope you'll find to be an interesting and helpful new resource. 

The paper takes stock of where we are three years since OZs were passed into law and one year since final regulations were published. We find that the OZ concept is largely proving itself in numerous communities across the country. However, we're also clear that further legislative and regulatory improvements are necessary to help ensure the policy fulfills its promise.

Quad-City Times - Alma Gaul - DAVENPORT, Iowa — Three new apartment projects proposed for Davenport have been awarded workforce housing tax credits from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, a financing boost that moves them closer to actually being built.

Merge Urban Development, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, received a $1 million award expected to trigger its purchase of city-owned green space south of the RiverCenter. The space would be used for construction of a $7 million, five-story building with 60 market-rate apartments and ground-floor retail to be called Urbane210. The apartments would include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, developer Brent Dahlstrom said.

Siouxland Proud - Tasia Nevilles - SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Downtown Sioux City is on a steady path of expansion.

Rose Gutierrez, a server at SoHo’s Kitchen and Bar said she’s seeing it firsthand now that downtown’s 4th Street is the place for entertainment.

“It has grown a lot more. We have gotten a lot more business and more new faces in here,” said Gutierrez.

She’s experiencing what may be the beginning now that Merge Urban Development plans to build a $6 million mixed-use building on the corner of 4th Street and Floyd Boulevard.

Brent Dahlstrom, a merger partner, described what the Sioux City council approved as a development agreement with the Cedar Falls company on Monday.

“The project is a mixture of commercial on the first floor and the residential will be on the upper floor,” said Dahlstrom. “It’s right around 60 units and there’s a little over 6,000 square feet of retail on the first floor.”

Sioux City Mayor Scott said the project will support the growth of walkable neighborhoods and increase economic activity.

“We continue to see housing downtown and I think every time you build one of those [units] it just enhances the whole downtown core,” said Scott.

The building is projected to be completed in 2021.

Kim Norvell - Des Moines Register - Drake University is selling land it owns east of campus for a $63 million development that includes apartments, townhomes, commercial/retail space and a remodeled Varsity Theatre.

It's the latest piece of Drake's long-term plan to redevelop the neighborhood around the Des Moines campus that includes new buildings for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa and Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement, an extended stay hotel and streetscape improvements along University Avenue.

Forbes - Joshua Pollard - Opportunity Zone legislation just got better and clearer. Potentially, the legislation will become even more favorable in the future. For whom did it get better? Investors AND communities. Is it perfect yet? No. Would it be a mistake to simply sit on the sidelines and wait for it to get better? Yes.

Green Bay Press Gazette - Jeff Bollier - GREEN BAY — An Iowa development group could be the first to use a 2017 federal tax incentive to redevelop property in Green Bay.

Merge Urban Development Group, of Cedar Falls, has secured a six-month planning option a vacant, narrow strip of city-owned land at 321 and 325 N. Broadway. The group is developing plans for a three-story, 33,000-square-foot building with 24 apartments, underground parking and 2,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space. Work would likely start in 2020.

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