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Brownfield Redevelopment in Opportunity Zones: Taking Advantage of OZ Tax Benefits

Determining Substantial Costs, Vacancy, and Environmental Remediation

New Regs Now In Effect

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide counsel with guidance based on the opportunity zone (OZ) regulations recently released by the Treasury Department related to brownfield redevelopment. The panel will address the IRS requirements in the assessment, remediation, and redevelopment of brownfield properties located in OZs in order to take advantage of the tax incentives created by prior tax reform.


As part of the sweeping changes provided in the 2017 tax reform bill, Congress has attempted to incentivize brownfield redevelopment. Unfortunately, it has taken over two years and multiple attempts at rulemaking by the IRS to approve standards and definitions to implement this tax incentive.

Counsel assisting potential purchasers or current owners of brownfield property need to be conversant in how to meet the definition of qualified OZ, including the vacancy period and definition of the term "vacant" under the rules. Property owners need clarification regarding how much of the property will need remediation and what the IRS defines as satisfying the "original use" test.

Knowledge of the requirements related to how much of the costs of brownfield site assessment and remediation are eligible as "substantial improvements" will be a vital factor in determining the value of future investment in these distressed properties. Investors also need guidance on what and how to handle the substantial improvement requirement timeline and what type of safe harbor provisions may exist if permitting of the site is delayed.

Listen as our expert panel discusses the best means of navigating these legislative hurdles to optimize a tax incentive designed to develop under-utilized property and increase the overall tax base while restoring the environment. Learn practical techniques for analyzing the environmental requirements to meet the brownfield OZ redevelopment requirements.



  1. Overview of brownfield redevelopment
  2. OZ tax incentives under tax reform
  3. Principal issues and considerations
    1. Qualifying costs
    2. Substantial operational and definitional adjustments
    3. Pre-development activities and environmental remediation
  4. Best practices and strategies after the new legislation


The panel will review these and other essential questions:

  • What are brownfield OZs and what type of tax incentive is available for redevelopment?
  • How are costs and vacancy defined under tax reform to be eligible as an OZ?
  • How can counsel assist when a delay in the substantial improvement timeline occurs?


Collings, Robert
Robert L. Collings

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis

Mr. Collings is co-chair of the Energy & Environmental Practice Group, co-chair of the Sustainability and...  |  Read More

Duke, George
George C. D. Duke

Brown Duke & Fogel

Mr. Duke focuses his practice on helping businesses navigate complex environmental and land use laws and regulations...  |  Read More

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