Do you have an Opportunity Zone in your community? This half-day workshop will help community leaders learn how Opportunity Zones can benefit their community and how to develop a planning and marketing strategy to attract the type of development you want in your community.

Q. What is an Opportunity Zone?

An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service.

Q. Where are Michigan's Opportunity Zones? 

There are Opportunity Zones throughout the state. A map of Opportunity Zones can be found on the Michigan State Housing Development Authority website here: 

Q. What is the purpose of Opportunity Zones?

Opportunity Zones are an economic development tool—that is, they are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.

Q. How do Opportunity Zones spur economic development?

Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors. First, investors can defer tax on any prior gains invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) until the earlier of the date on which the investment in a QOF is sold or exchanged, or Dec. 31, 2026. If the QOF investment is held for longer than 5 years, there is a 10% exclusion of the deferred gain. If held for more than 7 years, the 10% becomes 15%. Second, if the investor holds the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years, the investor is eligible for an increase in basis of the QOF investment equal to its fair market value on the date that the QOF investment is sold or exchanged.

For more details on Opportunity Zones, check out the rest of this IRS FAQ at 

This overview also provides a helpful summary: 

What will be covered:

  • Overview of what Opportunity Zones are and how they work
  • What does a marketing strategy look like?
  • How to identify potential sites in your opportunity zone
  • Developing a list of community assets
  • Defining what you want to attract
  • Crafting a marketing strategy

Those that participate will be able to:

  • Explain what an opportunity zone is and how they were selected.
  • Understand what the potential impacts on their community might be from opportunity zones.
  • Explore how to market opportunity zones.
  • Identify potential sites for (re)development within opportunity zones in their community.
  • Identify assets that help attract (re)development to their opportunity zones.
  • Examine what they want out of (re)development for their communities.
  • Draft a marketing strategy for an Opportunity Zone re(development) site.
Who should attend:
  • Elected officials
  • Appointed officials
  • Local Government Staff
  • Local business representatives
Individual participants are welcome to attend but to maximize the value of the workshop it is recommended that communities send teams made up of elected officials, appointed officials, staff, and business representatives from communities with Opportunity Zones. 

Cost: FREE - Sponsored by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

Dates and Locations:

  • April 12; Lapeer - Lapeer County ISD, Room 146,690 N. Lake Pleasant Road, Attica, MI 48412
  • April 22; Fremont - Fremont Public Library Community Room - 104 E. Main Street, Fremont, MI 49412
  • May 8; Escanaba - Bay College, MTEC 2031 - 2000 N 30th Street, Escanaba, MI 49829
  • May 13; Grayling - Kirtland Community College, Community Room A & B - 4800 W. 4 Mile Road, Grayling, MI 49738
  • May 13; Mt. Pleasant - Mid-Michigan Community College, Room 186 - 2600 S Summerton Road., Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
  • June 12; Online Webinar (2-4pm) - Webinar link will be sent out in advance of the June 12 program.
All in-person trainings will be from 1 - 4 p.m.

Download Event Flyer


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For questions about the program, please contact Eric Walcott at 517-353-9106 or