Friday, April 27, 2018

Buzzard Point Nominated as Opportunity Zone


Last week, the District government nominated 25 Census tracts to be Opportunity Zones and one of those was Census tract 6400, covering a portion of Southwest including all of Buzzard Point. Census tract 6400 is bordered by Delaware Avenue and Fort McNair to the west, South Capitol Street to the east, M Street to the north, and the Anacostia River to the south. The nomination was the result of tax cut legislation passed last year by Congress, which created a federal program to facilitate investment and job creation in low-income urban and rural areas. In the District, a majority of the nominated Census tracts are located in Wards 7 and 8 – the only nomination in Ward 6 is the Buzzard Point area. According to a press release by DMPED: 
The tracts were selected with a focus on bringing new investment to communities most in need of jobs, commercial activity and amenities by leveraging actionable investment opportunities. As certain benefits end in 2026, census tracts with projects ready for investment were given greater consideration as the sooner funds can be deployed, the greater the value. 
Census tract 6400 falls into this category – billions of dollars’ worth of development is planned, but the area is currently lacking in jobs and opportunities for residents. According to Census data, the unemployment rate is over 15% and 2016 median household income is $23,485. This compares to the 20024 ZIP code median household income of $75,703.  While Audi Field is seen as a driver of recent activity in Buzzard Point, the Opportunity Zone designation could potentially put development in this area of Southwest into overdrive.  Whether this new designation ultimately helps current residents get jobs and climb out of poverty remains to be seen...