A Maine Opportunity Zone Designated Area
Not only are we one of the 32 communities to be given the Opportunity Zone designation, but we have other incentive programs which make a move to our downtown even more attractive!
Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide.
Augusta, and our downtown area, are one of only 32 areas in Maine that were designated as an opportunity zone. Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors. First, investors can defer tax on any prior gains until the earlier of the date on which an investment is sold or exchanged, or December 31, 2026, so long as the gain is reinvested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund. Second, if the investor holds the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years, the investor would be eligible for an increase in basis equal to the fair market value of the investment on the date that the investment is sold or exchanged.
Tipping Point Initiative
The City of Augusta has established a two part program to promote targeted economic development opportunities in the city's downtown business district.
The first part is a no interest loan program, where Kennebec Savings Bank has dedicated a pool of $250,000 for small business loans - and the city has agreed to cover interest costs for a five year loan term.
The second is a residential conversion incentive program, to promote the creation of new, quality housing in the downtown district. The city is making reimbursement grants available for developers to cover a portion of the costs of code and life safety compliance costs. The maximum grant is $2,000 per unit and requires a minimum of $25,000 expenditure to create a new, code-compliant residential unit.
In 2017, Downtown Augusta was added to the National Register of Historic Places, making our city center one of just a handful of downtowns in the state to be included in its entirety. To celebrate this fact, and to highlight a more historically-inspired street, the Augusta Downtown Alliance has established a signs grant to assist new and existing business owners with obtaining new signage. Under the terms of this grant, a business can apply for up to $500 to go towards their sign simply by filling out a one page application form and submitting it through the ADA. This, along with the city's sign permit, will then be reviewed once a design is made, by the Historic District Review Board. Once approved, funds will be dispersed to the business owner.