Map-with-pins Investments inqualified opportunity funds tracked by a key industry list havesurpassed $10 billion, according to San Francisco-basedprofessional services firm Novogradac & Co.

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Funds with a focus on residential and commercial opportunityzones lead the way in raising equity, according to the NovogradacOpportunity Funds List, Of 621 qualified opportunity funds tracked,406 reported raising equity as of April 30.

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News of the investment growth comes with a caveat. Most of the$10 billion was raised before March 13, the date President Trumpdeclared a national emergency in response to the spread ofCOVID-19.

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Anecdotal evidence suggests that new investments in opportunityzones has slowed since then as investors and the public weigh newpandemic-generated economic realities, Novogradac managing partnerMichael Novogradac wrote in blog post late last month.

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"We've never seen what we're seeing now," John Lettieri,president and CEO of Economic Innovation Group, a public policyorganization that supports opportunity zone incentives, said in aprepared statement. "It's hard to see past it, but when [thepandemic] ends, there's a number of reasons investors might look toopportunity zones to help rebuild the economy by investing in areasthat need it most."

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Steve Glickman, chief executive officer of opportunity zoneadvisory firm Develop LLC agreed that an abundance of distressedproperties in opportunity zones, downward pressure on constructionprices, low interest rates and a lack of other attractiveinvestment targets could provide industry incentives.

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"All those things will conspire to create an interesting next 18months or so," Glickman said in a prepared statement.

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The Opportunity Zones Working Group has also asked the USDepartment of the Treasury asking for flexible extensions ofcapital gains investment deadlines and regulatory changes helpfulto investors, funds and qualified opportunity zone businesses.

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The 621 qualified opportunity funds tracked on the NovogradacOpportunities Fund List increased from 502 in January. The averageequity raise for those funds reporting raises was $24.9 million.Twenty-two of the funds reported raising at least $100 million, anincrease from 12 in December 2019.

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Funds on the list with a national focus raised $2.38 billion,which is just under 30 percent of the total equity raised by fundsthat revealed their geographic strategies. Funds with a single-cityfocus did not raise as much money but they included moreparticipants. One-hundred thirty-six funds out of 406 reportingraises had a single-city focus.

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Cheryl Miller

Cheryl Miller, based in Sacramento, covers the state legislature and emerging industries, including autonomous vehicles and marijuana. She authors the weekly cannabis newsletter Higher Law. Contact her at [email protected]. On Twitter: @CapitalAccounts