Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s (BAMa.TO) New York-based real estate unit is seeking to raise US$1 billion for a fund that would take advantage of generous new tax breaks available to investors in low-income U.S. communities, according to people familiar with the matter.
The fund plans to invest in six projects in designated opportunity zones, including residential developments in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and a shopping center in Connecticut, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private effort.
A representative for Brookfield declined to comment.
Opportunity zones have set off a frenzy since they were tucked into President Donald Trump’s 2017 federal tax overhaul. Even so, fundraising for projects in the low-income areas has been slow, in part because investors were waiting for more complete regulations from the government on how the incentives would work. Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department released a set of guidelines that cleared up much of the lingering uncertainty.
That’s given more encouragement to firms -- including Starwood Capital Group, Bridge Investment Group and RXR Realty LLC -- that are setting up funds to take advantage of the tax breaks. If Brookfield succeeds in raising US$1 billion, it would be among the largest such pools of capital.
Brookfield had already been working on several projects in areas that have been designated as opportunity zones, including a 22-acre site in Brooklyn, not far from where Amazon.com Inc. was planning to build a new headquarters. The developer is also behind a shopping center in a zone in Norwalk, Connecticut, that would be anchored by a Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. Both properties are slated to be part of the new fund, one of the people said.
While investors are just beginning to fund developments in opportunity zones, the tax breaks have inspired fierce debate. Backers say the incentives will draw much-needed money to struggling communities. Critics counter they could end up being a handout to the wealthy, benefiting projects that were already in the works while doing little for low-income residents.