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OFS site gets new tool in revitalization

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The OFS site has a new "opportunity" for redevelopment.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs named the second opportunity zone in Gwinnett, tapping an area at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85 for maximum state tax credits of $3,500 for each new job it creates.

"Having this designation over the years to come will maximize our efforts to attract new businesses and redevelop properties like the OFS site," said Chuck Warbington, executive director of the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District.

The credits can help offset some of the business's income tax liability and is available for up to five years when new or existing businesses create and maintain two or more fulltime jobs.

According to state law, an opportunity zone must be within or adjacent to a census block group with a 15 percent or greater poverty rate and where an enterprise zone or urban redevelopment plan exists.

"We've put lots of tools in place recently to help revitalize older parts of the county, including community improvement districts and tax allocation districts plus a recovery zone and now an opportunity zone," Chairman Charles Bannister said. "All these elements work together to improve our local economy and quality of life in Gwinnett."

The new opportunity zone runs along Jimmy Carter Boulevard from Singleton Road/South Norcross-Tucker Road south of I-85 north to Best Friend Park. It is near the county's first opportunity zone, which was named last year in the city of Norcross.

"The new opportunity zone gives economic developers another tool to add to the relocation or expansion package," said Nick Masino, vice president of economic development at the Gwinnett Chamber. "This particular location already offers what many businesses desire -- convenient access in and out of Gwinnett. Adding major job tax credit opportunities and a focus on revitalization only strengthens the ability to readily sell it to prospects."