The morning started with a networking breakfast, followed by a keynote session with Ms. Denise Cleveland-Leggett, Region IV, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who oversees the Opportunity Zones program in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The South Florida Opportunity Zone Forum was the first event to provide insights from Ms. Denise Cleveland-Leggett.
"The Opportunity Zones program is not just about tax incentives - it's about changing the trajectory of communities and of people's lives," Cleveland-Leggett said. "Opportunity Zones are game changers and it's events like these that help promote them. The quality of the speakers here [at the South Florida Opportunity Zone Forum] is unlike any I have seen so far, and I am grateful to Al and the team for putting it together."
Following the keynote, a roundtable of investors, developers, and real estate leaders, featuring Joshua Kaplan, Corporate and Tax Partner at Bilzin Sumberg, and moderated by Andrej Micovic, attorney with Bilzin Sumberg's Public-Private Partnerships Team, expanded on the topics covered by the survey and provided real-life, experiential insight into the Opportunity Zone program.
The panel agreed that, although the program will not turn a bad deal into a good deal, there is great product available and those who invest first will get to handpick the best alternatives. The recently-issued regulations have provided clarity on previous questions and, as the deadline for investment approaches, the urgency to finalize investments will continue to grow.
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