Brooklyn’s “Opportunity Zones” Among Wealthiest in the U.S.
A new report from consulting firm Webster Pacific breaks down the growth and concentration of households with an annual income of $200,000 or more in the U.S.’s 8,700 federal opportunity zones, and Brooklyn tops the list in growth.
Brooklyn’s “opportunity zones” are part of a federal designation for low-income communities to attract investment through tax breaks for real estate developers. The program was created in 2017 with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
All totaled, New York accounts for 15 of the top 50 opportunity zones identified in the report. Here’s how the results were calculated:
To answer this, we calculated the growth in the percentage of households earning $200,000 or more in each of the 8,700 Opportunity Zones. (The growth is measured between 2000 and 2017 and is adjusted for inflation. We excluded any tracts that were recently created, tracts whose boundaries were significantly altered, or tracts with fewer than 100 households.
At 22 percent growth, Gowanus experienced the largest gain during 2000 – 2017 of households with an annual income of $200,000 or more out of all 8,700 federal opportunity zones. Williamsburg ranks fourth on the list.
The report’s major findings include that some opportunity zones, such a New York City’s, have already spurred major economic growth prior to the new designation:
• The single leading metropolitan area is New York City, which contains nearly four times as many
high-growth tracts as the next highest area, the San Francisco Bay Area.
• Some of the top 50 Opportunity Zones were already wealthy and got much wealthier; the most
extreme examples include tracts in New York, Houston, San Juan (P.R.), and Silicon Valley. At the same time, some of the top 50 started with very little wealth that increased during the 17-year
period; the extreme examples of this include tracts in Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, and
• None of the top 50 were in the South or in New England and very few were in the Midwest.
Property value tends to rise with income growth, according to the report and Greenpoint and Williamsburg are surrounded by the opportunity zones.
Zone number 563 (mapped above) is in the northernmost stretch of Greenpoint where luxury towers such as the Greenpoint Landing development are bringing over 5,000 new apartments to market in the next few years.