Opportunity Zones encourage economic development

Areas in SW La . are eligible for preferential tax treatment

The city of Lake Charles and the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance hosted a panel on Monday to discuss Opportunity Zones — economically distressed communities that are eligible for preferential tax treatment when investors pursue new developments.

Eight tracts of land in Calcasieu, Allen, Beauregard and Jeff Davis parishes are eligible for the investment incentive, said Mandi Mitchell, Louisiana Economic Development assistant secretary.

Opportunity Zones in Calcasieu include areas of North Lake Charles, the downtown lakefront district, Nellie Lutcher Cultural District, commercial areas along Broad Street, South Martin Luther King Highway and the distressed area along Interstate 210, including Chennault International Airport and Sowela Technical Community College.

Mayor Nic Hunter said the zones represent lucrative economic development tools for large and small businesses.

“The city of Lake Charles has become more aggressive than ever in recent months to encourage economic development and investment in some of our underserved corridors,” he said.

Other eligible areas include the Royal Plantation Bed and Breakfast in Beauregard Parish and portions of La. 165 through Oakdale.

The tax incentives offered through the program are designed as an economic “catalyst” for state, said Jason Decuir, principal with the global tax services firm Ryan Advocacy.

“Opportunity Zones come to Louisiana during a very important time,” he said. “Louisiana, if we think about it, is still in recovery mode — 13 years after (hurricanes) Katrina and Rita, eight years after the BP oil spill and two years just after the Baton Rouge flood.”


 

For more on the Opportunity Zone program, visit opportunitylouisiana.com/ business-incentives/opportunity-zones.

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Jason Decuir, principal with the global tax services firm Ryan Advocacy, was part of a panel to discuss Oppportunity Zones in Southwest Louisiana on Monday.

Rick Hickman