• Opportunity Zone Reform Act introduced would not conflict with potential MLS HQ at Eastland site

    By: Joe Bruno


    RALEIGH, N.C. - Proposed changes to the Federal Opportunity Zone Program would not conflict with a potential Major League Soccer headquarters and practice facility at the old Eastland Mall site, a Charlotte lawmaker said.

    Sources said the city is eyeing the currently vacant 69 acres in east Charlotte for the development.

    The land is also in an opportunity zone, which city council members have said is a big benefit for a future developer.

    "We see an opportunity to take a blight area and bring in some investment that normally would not come," Councilman James Mitchell told Channel 9's Joe Bruno last month.

    The opportunity zones incentive is a community investment tool to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities.

    Some lawmakers in Washington are proposing changes to the federal program.

    North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams, District-12, is introducing the Opportunity Zone Reform Act that would ban investments in luxury apartments, parking lots and stadiums.

    Adams told Channel 9 her legislation would not hinder the city's plans.

    "I am not opposed to any kind of sports facility (at Eastland)," Adams said.

    Stadiums in opportunity zones have come under fire in other parts of the country like Detroit.

    Adams said the goal of her legislation is not to stifle projects like the one at the Eastland Mall site but to make sure projects in opportunity zones are improving the areas they are serving.

    "We want to make sure it is true to that and that they are not opportunities to take advantage of that," Adams said.

    In response to the legislation, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., called it "a misguided attempt to wreck the opportunity zone initiative under the guise of improvement."

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