ST. CLOUD -- If the east side of St. Cloud sees significant development in the coming years, a federal law passed in 2017 will likely be the key to making that happen.

John Uphoff is the Executive Director of the Benton Economic Partnership. He was in charge of putting the application together for the federal opportunity zone designation. It is part of the Federal Tax Act and Jobs Act passed in 2017. He says the east side of St. Cloud is one of 128 zones in Minnesota.

If a developer makes an investment in a qualifying capital gain in the zone, they will get significant tax benefits on their capital gains tax on the initial investment, also after a 10-year hold period.

Uphoff says with the tax incentives in place, and now the visioning document put together, the east side is ready to be marketed to potential investors.

What this document really does is it allows me to go to funders and developers and show them the vision that we've developed by stakeholders, and really it shows a request for development.  I can go out and say this isn't just speculative there is a request for development here.

Uphoff says the city of St. Cloud is the project manager for the east side, but his organization along with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation will all be working together to help push development forward.

The 70-page east side visioning document has several catalyst sites that include plans for a hotel, restaurants, retail, and housing.

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