Meriden officials hope ‘opportunity zone’ designation will spur downtown development

Meriden officials hope ‘opportunity zone’ designation will spur downtown development

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MERIDEN — Three census tracts in downtown Meriden have been nominated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for “opportunity zone” federal tax incentives that city officials hope will spur investment. 

“One of my administration’s top priorities has been the revitalization, reinvention and growth of our cities,” Malloy said in a statement. “These opportunity zone nominations we have made will go a long way in encouraging new investment and development in areas that will be critical to Connecticut’s future.”

The three Meriden tracts were among 72 nominated in 27 Connecticut municipalities. Hartford had the most nominations, with 10 tracts, followed by Bridgeport and New Haven, with seven tracts each.

The nominations require final approval from U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

The federal program allows states to designate qualified opportunity zones in low-income neighborhoods for private investment, allowing entities to defer capital gains reinvested in the area.

Eligible low-income census tracts are geographical areas consisting of between 1,200 and 8,000 people where more than 51 percent of households earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Ten Meriden tracts qualified for the distinction and six were submitted for the nomination by city officials, said Juliet Burdelski, the city’s economic development director. 

The census tracts selected — 1701, 1702 and 1709 — include the area surrounding the Meriden Green, portions of West Main Street, and the area along Cook Avenue that includes the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital and the former Factory H site, Burdelski said. 

The city is working with private investors to redevelop the old hospital into market-rate senior housing, and PennRose Properties will soon begin leasing apartments in Meriden Commons I next to the Meriden Green. 

Burdelski said she hopes the designation could help spur more development.

Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ

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