Developers, investors and leaders gathering to discuss opportunities to improve distressed areas of Alabama

Published: April 25, 2019
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Auburn University’s Government and Economic Development Institute is partnering with sponsors HSBC, Regions Bank and Sadis & Goldberg, along with Acumen Capital Group and Opportunity Alabama to present a one-day forum designed to help participants learn how to better position their communities for development and investment. Established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or TCJA, the Opportunity Zone program was created to drive private investment into rural and impoverished areas.

The forum will be held on May 1 at 8 a.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. This is Alabama’s first statewide conference on Opportunity Zones. More than 150 statewide developers, investors and community leaders have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the potential for TCJA to stimulate economic development and create jobs in distressed communities.

“What attendees will learn are the locations of Opportunity Zones within the state, what potential investors are looking for in terms of investment projects, and what can be, and has been, done by community leaders in Opportunity Zones to attract investment,” said Jim Barth, Eminent Scholar in Finance at the Harbert College of Business. Barth is co-author with Shen Zhang, doctoral candidate in finance, of a new report, “Opportunity Zones for Economic Development and Job Creation: The Nuts and Bolts and a Look at Alabama.”

The Alabama Opportunity Zone Forum was organized by Barth and Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach, and led by David Mixson, associate director of the Government and Economic Development Institute, or GEDI, a unit of University Outreach. A strategic priority for Auburn University Outreach, GEDI has long be a leader in promoting civic leadership and economic development across Alabama.

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