SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – A special visit and tour today by White House policy advisor and Small Business Administration regional director Ashley Bell focused on select Opportunity Zone properties being developed by Caliber within once-blighted downtown Mesa.
Media interviews with Bell and a visit with Mesa City Councilmember Jen Duff capped an informative tour of the progress being made in the East Valley city, which is being heralded nationwide as a gleaming example of the Federal reinvestment program's success.
Bell was appointed last year to advise The White House regarding small business entrepreneurship and innovation, and chose to visit the Valley and Caliber for an update on Opportunity Zones. The program allows investors with short- or long-term capital gains to invest in real estate and potentially defer, reduce or eliminate taxes, depending on years held.
“We are honored to be able to host Mr. Bell in Mesa and to explain the history, context and future of the area as we use this powerful tax tool to drive innovation, create jobs and improve lives,” Caliber CEO Chris Loeffler said. “The public-private partnerships between the City of Mesa, Arizona State University and companies like Caliber are a model for the Opportunity Zone program nationwide and understandably is something we are proud of.”
A sleek Light Rail car seemingly floated along West Main Street in Mesa as Bell took in the fresh, warm, citrus-tinged air of Spring in Arizona and strolled back in time to Main Street America between Robson and Center Streets along with a handful of Caliber executives, area media and staff. Teenagers zipped along on skateboards and gawked at the VIP with entourage in tow, while office workers nonchalantly savored lunch in quaint bistros tucked into 1940s storefronts.
Caliber Senior Vice President of Marketing Kyle Cox and Director of Acquisitions and Development Rodney Riley pointed out infrastructure improvements made by the city, public art displays, the location of ASU's new downtown Mesa Campus and award-winning Mesa Arts Center along with Caliber properties that range from 3,800 to 50,000 square feet.
“It means a lot to have Mr. Bell visit Mesa first-hand and see how private investment is creating public good, and how innovative tax programs can, and are, turning old neighborhoods into something new and special,” Loeffler says.
Bell, a former Hall County, Georgia, commissioner and attorney, served as the Small Business Administration's Regional Director in Atlanta before joining the White House in 2019. His primary responsibility is to recommend policies to the Trump Administration to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow.
The event marks the second visit by a Trump Administration appointee to Caliber Opportunity Zone properties in Arizona. Scott Turner, the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, visited Caliber last June and toured the real estate investment company's redeveloped Crowne Plaza Hotel and took a preview of the upcoming 95-room Avid Hotel, both near Sky Harbor Airport, as well as visiting Mesa properties.
“We are honored to be able to host Mr. Bell in Mesa and to explain the history, context and future of the area as we use this powerful tax tool to drive innovation, create jobs and improve lives.”
In addition to 10 projects in downtown Mesa, Caliber has initiated several projects in once distressed areas around Arizona and is helping bring new life to parts of Tucson and around Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The company also launched Caliber’s Tax-Advantaged Opportunity Zone Fund, an investment alternative for those who want to capitalize on the Opportunity Zone program and engage in redevelopment projects.
The Opportunity Zone program, which was enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is designed to incentivize long-term investment in disadvantaged urban and rural communities. The program provides tax incentives to investors that invest their capital gains into Federally designated Opportunity Zone areas and, under current guidelines, investors may defer tax on capital gains invested in Opportunity Zone investments until the investment is sold or until Dec. 31, 2026. The investor may also benefit by a step up in basis of 10 percent if the invested gains are invested for at least five years; and an additional 5 percent if the investment is held at least seven years, which means that the investor may exclude up to 15 percent of the original gain from federal taxable income at seven years. If the investment is held ten years or more, any appreciation on the invested gains while in the Opportunity Zone investment, are excluded from federal taxable income, subject to certain conditions and qualifications.
For more information, visit CaliberCo.com.