John Urbahns to appear on statewide Opportunity Zones panel

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Tomorrow, Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. president and CEO John Urbahns will have an opportunity to showcase Allen County for a statewide audience. Urbahns will speak on a statewide panel about Opportunity Zones, a federal tax incentive program designed to increase private investment in distressed neighborhoods.

“It’s an honor to be part of this panel,” Urbahns said. “My hope is that it not only helps leaders across the state, but also sparks new private investment here in Allen County. The Opportunity Zones program is a useful tool to help attract and retain private investment in our community, and we’re doing everything we can to make the most of it.”

The 45-minute panel discussion will focus on how non-governmental entities can organize around Opportunity Zones. It’s part of a daylong summit in downtown Indianapolis, organized by the Opportunity Investment Consortium of Indiana. Federal officials are tentatively expected to attend, including a representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Opportunity and Revitalization Council. Opportunity Zones investors will also be in attendance, potentially looking to invest in places like Fort Wayne.

GFW Inc. has been part of a community-wide push to highlight Allen County’s 10 Opportunity Zones. Last month, the City of Fort Wayne and GFW Inc. partnered to publish a prospectus detailing the benefits of investing in the community’s Opportunity Zones. Only a handful of communities nationwide have published such prospectuses.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established the federal Opportunity Zones program, an economic development tool aimed at catalyzing new, long-term investments and development in economically challenged urban and rural communities across the country. Opportunity Zones provide investors with a chance to infuse capital gains into projects within zones, in exchange for reducing or eliminating the taxes they would otherwise pay.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. In 2018, GFW Inc. assisted 33 businesses in expansions or relocations in Allen County, resulting in a total of 2,445 projected new jobs, $115 million in new annual payroll, and more than $336 million in new investment.