President Trump has issued an executive order to steer more federal building construction and leases to “opportunity zones” and other distressed communities in a bid to spur economic activity in them and save on costs to the government.
“In the past, under orders signed by previous administrations, federal agencies were instructed to give first consideration to locating facilities in central business districts. These districts were often the most expensive areas of urban centers, both costing taxpayers more dollars and sinking federal investment into areas that were often not in need of the economic development,” a White House fact sheet said.
“Meanwhile, opportunity zones and other distressed communities offer lower costs and are in need of the investment that a government site location can bring,” it said.
GSA said that it has considered opportunity zones when selecting locations for buildings and leases since a 2018 executive order encouraging public investment in urban and economically distressed areas. Under the new order it will formally prioritize “opportunity zones, other distressed communities, and centralized community business areas, including specific areas recommended by local officials” after mission considerations, cost and security, it said.
Some 9,000 areas have been designated as opportunity zones nationwide since the 2018 order.