Much of North and West Philly among Pa. areas nominated for new-investment tax break

A vacant building near Amtrak’s North Philadelphia station, one of the areas nominated by the governor to become a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

Investors with ventures along much of Market Street in West Philadelphia and Broad Street in North Philadelphia, as well as neighborhoods such as Mantua, Point Breeze, and Brewerytown, may be in for new tax breaks under a federal program designed to promote development in rural and low-income urban communities nationwide.

Gov. Wolf included the census tracts covering those areas in his list of nominees Friday to become so-called Qualified Opportunity Zones, which would make them eligible for incentives enacted as part of the tax-cut legislation signed into law in December.

The incentives offer deferral, reduction, and potential elimination of some federal taxes for capital gains from investing in businesses, real estate, and other ventures in low-income communities.

Also identified were tracts covering parts of Lansdowne in Delaware County, Norristown in Montgomery County, and Croydon in Bucks County, according to a map posted to the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The Philadelphia-area tracts are among 300 statewide that Wolf sent to the U.S. Treasury Department for consideration on Friday, the deadline to submit nominations for the program. The federal agency has 30 days to designate which tracts ultimately qualify.

Pennsylvania had 1,197 census tracts eligible for Qualified Opportunity Zone status and was given the opportunity to designate 25 percent, or a maximum 300 low-income community tracts as zones, the governor’s office said in a release.

Wolf said in the release that his nominations were submitted “after gathering input from individuals and organizations throughout the state and examining where the areas of need intersect with potential investment.”

“We are hopeful this new incentive will bring much-needed investment to many distressed areas across the commonwealth,” he said.

The Treasury Department has already designated areas of Delaware around Wilmington and parts of Camden in South Jersey as opportunity zones, according to online mapping service PolicyMap, which has been tracking the program. Officials from those states, and others, sent their tract nominations ahead of Wolf.

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