The title creates a tax incentive, which is a job tax credit, for businesses to expand and locate in Avondale Estates, which has become business friendly and has increased economic development. The tax credit is available to businesses that create two or more jobs. The credits can be used against 100 percent of state income tax liability and withholding tax, according to the city’s website.
The opportunity zone designation is in effect for 10 years, until May 3, 2013, with an option to renew. The city earned the title May 3, according to Keri Stevens, Avondale Estates city planner.
“Economic development has been one of our main focuses for the past few years,” Stevens said. “It will attract those willing to invest in the city’s downtown in a very competitive market.”
Businesses within the opportunity zone boundaries, the central business district, may begin taking the credit for jobs created on or after Jan. 1, 2013, she said, if at least two jobs are created within that business.
“It’s a tool for the city to use to incentivize businesses to come to our city,” Stevens said. “We have a significant amount of vacant or underutilized property in the city, and we are hoping to stir the mix with new job opportunities.”
The opportunity zone is part of the city’s downtown master plan, Stevens said. Avondale Estates recently received a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to help with downtown development and drive economic growth, she said.
“This is in the very beginning steps,” Stevens said. “We don’t have a specific type of business we’re targeting that we want coming in.”
That decision will come following polls from the community and stakeholders, she said.
“Part of the marketing plan is to zone in on the types of businesses our city wants and cater to the community,” Stevens said. “It depends on the private sector.”