Last week, the Coatesville 2nd Century Alliance, a public/private partnership comprised of stakeholders working together to ensure that the city’s second century is economically prosperous, updated the community on a number of plans that aim to meet that mission of a successful future for Coatesville.
The city stands to benefit from the federal Opportunity Zones initiative, a new community investment tool established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities across America.
Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors. Exactly 300 census tracts in Pennsylvania have been designated as Opportunity Zones. Four of those tracts are in the City of Coatesville, and they represent the only Opportunity Zones in all of Chester County.
“We, here in Coatesville, are in a very advantageous position,” said David Sciocchetti, an economic development consultant to the Chester County Commissioners. “The key is how do we take advantage of that.”
This legislation provides an incentive that can drive capital to Coatesville, which has had trouble attracting it.
“It’s a pretty broad tool, with a range of potential impact,” said Sciocchetti. “It provides an opportunity for mainstream private investors to support projects and business in Coatesville.”
Jim DePetris, the CEO of DEPG/Legend Properties, also discussed the Coatesville Gateway Project at the intersection of Main Street and First Avenue.
“We believe in the city, and we believe there is business to be done here,” he said. “We believe that our success will make others follow.”