A tax break to hasten gentrification? Housing market’s Opportunity Zones may miss their target

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Abandoned buildings stand downtown in East Liverpool, Ohio, once prosperous from steel mills and a vibrant ceramics industry.

In mid-November, a Chicago-based private equity firm with an eye on underserved neighborhoods raised $105 million from 425 investors — in just 17 hours.

Around the same time and about a hundred miles away, Milwaukee officials were meeting to discuss what they hope is an influx of money from a fresh wave of investors for badly needed city improvement projects.

The two parties’ paths might never have crossed. But now, a productive match is a real possibility thanks to a new tax scheme known as Opportunity Zones.

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