Louisiana Economic Development (LED) has launched an online service to connect investors with Louisiana properties eligible for the federal Opportunity Zone program. Through the new Louisiana Opportunity Zones web portal, investors can explore potential projects in Opportunity Zones throughout the state.

Opportunity Zones are a community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The program is designed to encourage long-term investments to spur economic development and job creation in low-income communities. The law provides a federal tax incentive for investors to redirect capital gains into specialized funds that are dedicated to investing in designated low-income areas through both business and real estate projects.

“Here is yet another good reason for investing in our Louisiana communities,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Opportunity Zones have the potential to generate the kind of economic activity that can transform lower-income areas across our state. Our economic developers, local governments and investment professionals are well-positioned to put this program to work for Louisiana.”

A total of 150 census tracts in Louisiana were nominated by Gov. Edwards and certified as Opportunity Zones by the secretary of the U.S. Treasury. About 8,700 census tracts have been certified as Opportunity Zones in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

“LED is providing guidance and support to stakeholders throughout the state about the Opportunity Zone program,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “This federal program can be utilized to encourage investment in targeted low-income communities across our state. We are working with real estate professionals, bankers, accountants and economic development professionals to build awareness and a better understanding of the Opportunity Zone program. The attraction of new investments to Louisiana through this program can make a significant impact here. Our new web portal is a functional tool that can help us secure these new investments.”

Outreach by LED has included economic developers, elected officials, community leaders, bankers, real estate agents, CPAs and other financial professionals, planning district representatives, private investors and other state, regional and community stakeholders. This week, LED staged strategy workshops about the program for economic developers and other stakeholders in Ruston, Alexandria and Baton Rouge. The events were led by KPMG’s national Opportunity Zone practice.

Investors and other stakeholders can visit www.LouisianaOpportunityZones.com to view specifics on Louisiana’s Opportunity Zone projects. LED will maintain the website content, highlighting a portfolio of properties and projects within the Opportunity Zone program.

The portal helps to identify and organize a pipeline of Louisiana projects in which local as well as national investors can invest, and allows investor sponsors to download exclusive information about the projects. This statewide collaboration seeks to generate social and economic impact through long-term, private investment in Opportunity Zones. It creates a shared space to connect efforts across Louisiana for projects and deals to come to fruition. LED’s collaborative partner on the web portal is The Opportunity Exchange, a leading consultant on Opportunity Zone-related technology.