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Opportunity Zone Program

Latest News

At the City Council meeting on Feb. 5, 2019, council adopted an emergency moratorium ordinance 8314 pdf, (amending ordinances 8312 pdf and 8308) pdf to suspend the acceptance of building permits, site review applications and other development applications that will result in adding non-residential floor area, or demolition of multi-family dwelling units to land within the census tract 122.03 Opportunity Zone until June 22, 2020. The moratorium exempts complete development applications submitted prior to Dec. 18, buildings owned by nonprofit organizations, development within Boulder Junction, and some new housing developments. The moratorium does not apply to tenant finishes, or conversions of use within an existing building that do not result in new floor area. More information and questions and answers will be posted to this page as it becomes available.

OverviewMap of Opportunity Zone

The Opportunity Zone Program is a federal initiative arising out of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 intended to encourage private investment in low-income urban and rural community properties or businesses by providing a federal tax incentive on long-term investments. The Opportunity Zone located in Boulder (tract 122.03), highlighted on the map on this page, was certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in April 2018. 

Opportunity Zone-related funding may, in certain circumstances, fund public infrastructure or investments providing community benefit (for example, affordable housing, public infrastructure and start-up business investments). Specific business types, as specified by the IRS, are excluded from the program, including golf courses, country clubs, gaming institutions and liquor stores. Recent IRS guidance provides more detail on the establishment, qualification and uses of Opportunity Funds.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certifies census tracts that meet eligibility requirements as Opportunity Zones. In June 2018, the federal process identifying 8,700 Opportunity Zones across the United States, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories was completed. Certified zones include 126 Opportunity Zones in Colorado, with one located in the city of Boulder and three in other Boulder County communities. Certification lasts 10 years.

Opportunity Zone certification does not affect the applicability of local tax code, zoning pdf or city regulatory authority. Opportunity Zone funds may be used with other incentive programs.

Facts about Boulder's Opportunity Zone

Boulder's census tract 122.03:

  • Comprises a 2.5-square-mile area
  • Includes approximately 4,000 households
  • Includes approximately 1,500 businesses
  • Has a median household income of $51,719 (compared to the city median of $58,484)
  • Includes, among other locations, the Diagonal Plaza area, Boulder Junction, UCAR, two mobile home communities (Orchard Grove and Vista Village) and Boulder Community Hospital

More Information

The city manager approved submitting census tract 122.03 for Opportunity Zone certification based on staff’s analysis of community factors that could be aided by designation, if selected, including housing, affordable commercial, public-private partnerships enhancing infrastructure investments and support for local businesses. In addition to census tract 122.03, there were 11 other eligible census tracts in Boulder, including areas such as Gunbarrel and the Alpine-Balsam area. The city’s primary focus was on providing incentive for redevelopment of the Diagonal Plaza, which is part of census tract 122.03 and which City Council previously had identified as an area in need of redevelopment. Census tract 122.03 includes other properties and many existing businesses across a myriad of industries.


City Priorities and Plans

The following resources are intended to aid potential investor awareness of the community's priorities and applicable zoning, as well as provide context for the greater community.

Additional resources that will be posted in the future include:

  • Local Opportunity Zone FAQ
  • Additional Overlay Maps/Links
  • The Boulder Citywide Retail Study

Opportunity Zone Communication

External Resources



For more information on the federal Opportunity Zones program, contact Yvette Bowden, director of Community Vitality and Parks and Recreation at  [email protected]  or 303-413-7215.

For more information on land use, zoning and regulatory matters, contact Charles Ferro, development review manager, Planning Department, at [email protected] or 303-441-4012.