Opportunity Zones, tax incentives could aid redevelopment

The Maui News

Maui County zones have been set up that offer tax incentives to encourage investments in those lower income areas as part of a federal program.

The county Office of Economic Development worked with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and Gov. David Ige to establish the zones in Maui County as required by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The act authorized a community economic development program called the Opportunity Zones Program. It provides incentives for investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds in exchange for temporary tax deferral and other benefits. The Opportunity Funds then will be used to provide investment capital in certain low-income communities.

The zones are determined by Census information, meaning that only certain areas of Maui and Molokai could be designated Opportunity Zones, said Teena Rasmussen, director of the Office of Economic Development.

Maui’s zones consist of the core of Wailuku town; a section of Kahului that includes the old Kahului Industrial area, Kahului Airport, Alexander & Baldwin’s Maui Business Park and agriculture lands nearby; Haliimaile and a portion of Makawao town; and Kaunakakai.

The program should assist those who have been wanting to redevelop their properties in these older parts of Maui and Molokai with funding for infrastructure improvements, the county news release said.

“It is now up to the private sector to come to the table with projects to attract investment,” said Rasmussen. “The tax incentives are very attractive, especially for long-term investing.”

For more information on the Opportunity Zones Program, go to invest.hawaii.gov/hawaii-opportunity-zones/.


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