Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 92

City of Sacramento benefits aren’t just for the wealthy and that there’s a community-engagement process. “With the substantial figures that could be invested in opportunity zones, residents are concerned that large proj- ects could go up in their neighborhoods that they have no knowledge of or say in,” says Tyrone Roderick Williams, di- rector of development of the Sacramen- to Housing and Redevelopment Agency. Noting that opportunity zones allow investment in real estate and creation, expansion and relocation of business- es, Williams says, “On the surface, that’s wonderful and should stimulate WWW.BROWN-CONSTRUCTION.COM the economy. The flip side is that if it’s housing, there’s no requirement that it be affordable housing. If market-rate housing is built in lower-income neigh- borhoods, gentrification and displace- ment issues become very real.” SHRA, an independent entity, works with the City and county to promote the development of affordable housing. Any opportunity zone project will need ap- proval from local elected officials, and the City is streamlining those projects to encourage development “by reducing the fees they charge for affordable hous- ing projects,” Williams says. “However, any time a project comes before the City or county, we need it to trigger civic engagement in a meaningful way, rather than to just check a box,” says Williams. “I’ve been very optimistic, as opportuni- ty zones will help drive investment, but it’s our role with the City and county to ensure the projects benefit residents as well as investors.” Looking Ahead Nobody knows how successful oppor- tunity zones in Sacramento will be, but there is vast potential for investors, the City and the county, including residents and visitors. “We’re going to do all we can to make Sacramento the place to invest,” says Fritzsche. “These projects take collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, including the investment community, the lending community, community-based organizations and even foundations, and we’re working on strong collaborations to make these in- vestments possible.” n Jennifer von Geldern is a freelance writer who covers regional businesses, charities, events and the people who enrich our communities. 92 | May 201 9