Aurora Mayor Bob LeGare and HUD Secretary Ben Carson listen to U. S. Rep. Mike Coffman explain the importance of affordable housing. Photos by Freda Miklin
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing came to Aurora July 30 to tour the Village at Westerly Creek (VWC) at 10727 E. Kentucky. VWC is comprised of two buildings with one-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors. A third building currently under construction will contain 76 low-income family apartments with two bedrooms or more.
Accompanying Carson were Rep. Mike Coffman, Aurora Mayor Bob LeGare, and officials of the Housing Authority of the City of Aurora, including Ray Barnes, chair of the board of commissioners.
Carson came to Colorado to visit the property and discuss “Opportunity Zones,” a new tax shelter created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that provides investors’ the ability to defer capital gains taxes on their profits made in designated economically distressed areas. Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade has identified 126 areas in over 20 different counties throughout the state that are qualified for the program, which requires that a high percentage of the population live in poverty. Many of the designated areas are in rural Colorado.
The purpose of the Opportunity Zones investment is to promote economic vitality in areas around the country and in our state that have not experienced the economic uptick seen in other places, including much of the front range. It is also hoped that the program will serve to encourage new jobs and increase the availability of affordable housing while putting unused capital assets to work.
Under the rules of the program, investors have 180 days to use their capital gains from the sale of an asset to invest in a qualified property in an opportunity zone. If an investment made in an opportunity zone is not liquidated for 10 years, the new capital gains on the appreciation are completely exempt from income tax.
The Village at Westerly Creek will have 120 1-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors and 76 family apartments when it is completed.
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