As Steve Boote explored Mason City’s newly renovated downtown, wandered the cobblestoned plaza, perused the new storefronts and admired the sculptures, he knew an Opportunity Zones project would be successful there.
Owner of Talon Development LLC and Eagle Construction Inc., Boote has spent the last several years developing workforce housing, or affordable housing for residents who make less than an area’s median income, throughout the Dakotas. As his work branched into Iowa, his home state, as well as Wisconsin and Nebraska, he discovered the Opportunity Zones program.
The program was initiated at the federal level as part of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and offers communities in participating states the chance to create jobs and spark economic development by encouraging long-term investment in low-income areas. These areas are known as Opportunity Zones and are connected to private investors through the program’s provided tax incentives.
“The program enhances what we do as a developer in trying to drive rent fares down,” Boote said. “Some of these projects wouldn’t be possible without this program.”