Old Fourth Ward Declared Zone of Opportunity

New and expanding business in Atlanta's Auburn Edgewood Avenue area may spur tax credits.

Photo by: Ryan Winsor The Sweet Auburn and Edgewood Avenue districts in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood have been designated an "opportunity zone," which will likely bring new and expanding businesses to the area.

Life could get even finer down in the Sweet Auburn and Edgewood Avenue districts, thanks to a new tax credit designed to entice more vendors into the area.

State, county and city officials recently designated the district in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood as an “opportunity zone.” The o-zone program, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, offers tax incentives for businesses expanding or opening in the historic area.

The announcement came on the heels of the first track being laid for the Atlanta Streetcar along Edgewood Avenue.

“There’s a lot of good news happening along this corridor,” said Brian McGowan, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority, according to a release.

Not only is the area so very steeped in Atlanta history as it plays host to the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, but it is also becoming a hipster hang out when the sun goes down.

Spurred by the success of Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium, the area is seeing a boon in its after-hours nightlife. Noni’s Deli reported that business is better than ever.

“This is truly incredible because it means you don’t have to be a large business,” Duriya Farooqui, chief operating officer for the city of Atlanta told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We strongly believe this incentive … will attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to stay here and expand.”

Grant Henry, proprietor and namesake of Sister Louisa’s, has seen such great returns on his venture that he recently purchased a large chunk of the block where his bar and the ever-popular Corner Tavern are located.

"My block is included in the zone of opportunity," said Henry. "This year, for each employee I hire, I get a $3,500 tax credit for a maximum of two hires, so a $7,000 tax credit."

That’ll make you say hallelujah!

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