Opportunity Zones are something I’ve never paid much attention to, and don’t understand very well, so what follows is just information from a new report, National Opportunity Zones Ranking Report, by LOCUS and Smart Growth America. The report selects two of the 46 designated opportunity zones/census tracts in the county for ranking, 06067000700, western downtown, and 06067001101, eastern downtown and midtown, as shown on the map.

On the  ‘Top Opportunity Zones for Smart Growth Potential’ list, 0700 is in the ranking 3 band (of 6), and 0101 is in the ranking 4 band. On the ‘Top Social Equity and Vulnerable Places with High Smart Growth Potential’ list, 0700 is ranked 6 of 50, but 0101 is not on the list. On the ‘Top Opportunity Zones Markets for Office Asking Rents’ list, Sacramento is ranked 8 of 10, but it isn’t clear whether this is one or both census tracts. On the ‘Top Opportunity Zones for Office Asking Rents’ list, the two Sacramento tracts are ranked 47 and 47, with asking rents of $31.14 per square foot. On the ‘State (Top 10) Opportunity Zone Snapshots’ list for California, Sacramento 0700 is ranked 3 in the whole state.

What does this all mean? Well, I’m not sure. I hope that other people will chime in. I do note the following things:

  • The emphasis for Sacramento is on office space. I don’t think that is a good measure of a livable city, particularly one whose downtown is already overwhelmed by state offices. What downtown needs is people, not offices. But if the investment opportunity is in offices, that is what we will get.
  • The population of western downtown, 06067000700, is small, 2798 in 2012, and for 06067001101, 2082, though because it is much smaller 0700 has a population density of 13,990/sqmi while 1101 is only 3,413/sqmi.
  • Why do the other 44 opportunity zones in Sacramento county not show up? It could be because the have less opportunity for smart growth investment, or it could be because they have significant challenges on the SEVI (Social Equity + Social Vulnerability) scale. I’m not sure. See all the Sacramento region Opportunity Zones on the map below.

There is an interesting opinion article in the SacBee California Forum from May: Sacramento has its best shot in years at outside investment. Seize the opportunity. California has an interesting website at https://opzones.ca.gov/, but it doesn’t really answer my questions either.

About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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