North Star Opportunity Zones

  • All of Okanogan County

The Opportunity Zones program was enacted as part of the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is designed to drive long-term capital investments into low-income rural and urban communities. This federal program provides opportunities for private investors to support investments in distressed communities through participation in Qualified Opportunity Funds.

Opportunities across the region

The North Star Opportunity Zones offer both common opportunities across the North Central Washington region. Especially in housing for single-family, multi-family, and transit-served neighborhoods. The Zones benefit from their proximity to communities experiencing growth and prosperity in NCW.

NCW Communities

North Central Washington is a three county region, spanning more than 10,000 square miles of mountains, high desert, dramatic river valleys, dynamic communities, stellar research and education opportunities, emerging technologies, agricultural bounty, small towns and growing cities.


Chelan County/Wenatchee is a highly desirable place to live with abundant outdoor recreation opportunities a short drive away. It also boasts low cost, green hydro power, a county wide fiber optic communications network, and is served by a growing regional airport. 

The two zones in Wenatchee encompass much of the Wenatchee waterfront, downtown, historic industrial areas and large residential neighborhoods. The downtown/waterfront is characterized by vibrancy and energy boasting the Pybus Public Market, a new hotel, and co-working spaces. It provides urban infill and redevelopment opportunities with permit ready sites, flexible zoning, and a City interested in partnering with private development. Potential uses include multifamily residential, class A office, hospitality, and specialty retail.

The Chelan County zone south of Wenatchee provides large green field tracts which adjoin the BNSF railway, boasts existing industrial parks, over 2,300 acres of land surrounding the idled ALCOA Wenatchee Works aluminum shelter, and agriculture production and support services.

For more information about the advantages of doing business in Chelan County, county demographics, available commercial lands and buildings, and an interactive inventory of ALL commercially zoned properties in the county, go to

Craig Larsen, Business Development Director

Douglas County is part of the Wenatchee MSA (Chelan and Douglas Counties) and has a population of over 118,400. The largest population center for the region is the Wenatchee Valley which extends from Cashmere to the west and Rock Island to the east and includes the cities of East Wenatchee and Wenatchee. Within this region is the Douglas County Opportunity Zone with more than 1,400 acres of industrial zoned land and the Pangborn Memorial Airport with daily flights to Seattle. Although regions economy has an agricultural base, the Wenatchee Valley serves as the regional hub for retail, professional and health services in the four-county area consisting of Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties. With numerous data centers in the region there is also a growing tech and tech support industry.

With four seasons and access to an abundance of public land, the area is filled with all types of outdoor recreational opportunities. Mission Ridge Ski Resort is 15 miles out of Wenatchee with great winter snow and summer hiking. The Wenatchee National Forest has over 2,500 miles of trails for hiking or biking and the paved Apple Capital loop Trail makes a loop along the shores of the Columbia River… it is the longest loop trail in Washington State.

Thanks to the hydro dams we have a great community parks system along the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers that provide plenty of water access. The Columbia river offers paddle boarding, rowing, water skiing and more while the Wenatchee river has great whitewater rafting. There are several great golf courses, and the fishing enthusiast will enjoy the great Salmon, Trout and Bass fishing in the regional rivers and lakes. The mountains and shrub steppe offer all types of hunting from deer and elk to several types of birds.

The region is also home to a large number of breweries and cideries and with 3 separate distinct American Vinicultural Areas the area is home to more than 40 wineries. The Wenatchee Valley is a friendly, safe and inviting place to have a family.

Douglas County Contact
Ron Cridlebaugh, Economic Development Manager

Larger than several states, Okanogan County offers wide-open spaces and a rich economic base including vast natural resources of timber, mining, ranching, recreation, tourism, hydroelectricity, and agriculture. The local forests, mountains, and valleys are abundant with wildlife, spectacular scenery, and rural charm.

Okanogan County Contact:

Roni Holder-Diefenbach, Executive Director

  • Colville Nation

Ferry County is located in the heart of the Okanogan Highlands, which are found in Northeast Washington (NEWA). This region shares an International Border with Canada, and is surrounded by the Colville National Forest to the east and west. Ferry County is also home to the Colville Confederated Tribes or 12 Tribes, who live along the Columbia River, which also runs along the county’s most southern line.

Realize your potential in an Opportunity Zone

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017. The Opportunity Zone program was included  in that act, which was designed to provide tax incentives to investors who fund businesses in underserved communities. 

Investors are able to defer paying taxes on capital gains that are invested in Qualified Opportunity Funds that in turn are invested in distressed communities designated as Opportunity Zones by the governor of each state. Up to 25 percent of the low-income census tracts in each state can be designated as Opportunity Zones.

Which Census Tracts can be Designated as Opportunity Zones? 

  • Low-income community census tracts are the basis for determining eligibility. The definition is the same as that used for the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program – a low-income community census tract has an individual poverty rate of at least 20% and median family income up to 80% percent of the area median [Section 45D(e)]. 
  • Up to 5% of census tracts that do not meet the definition of a low-income community can be designated under an exemption. Exempt census tracts must be contiguous with low-income community census tracts that are designated as Opportunity Zones, and the median family income of the exempt tract must not exceed 125% of the median family income of the designated low-income community census tract with which it is contiguous. 

Low-income community census tracts were the basis for determining eligibility for Opportunity Zones. A low-income community census tract needed to have an individual poverty rate of at least 20 percent or median family income up to 80 percent of the area median in order to qualify.


WA State Chamber of Commerce

US Department of Treasury Opportunity Zones Resources (

  • Additional Resources
    • IRS Revenue Procedure: Provides information on the eligibility criteria for census tract designation as a Qualified Opportunity Zone and the nomination and designation process.
    • Opportunity Zones Information Resource, with sortable lists by State of all census tracts originally eligible for designation as a QOZ.
    • Opportunity Zones Shapefile: This Zip file contains a Geographic Information System (GIS) shapefile of all population census tracts designated as QOZs. See Readme text document for additional detail.

The law passed by Congress in December of 2017 states:

  • Qualified Opportunity Zones must be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and are required to hold at least 90 percent of their assets in qualified opportunity zone businesses and/or business property.
  • To qualify, capital gains must be invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund within 180 days of the date of the sale or exchange that generated the gain.
  • The tax deferral is temporary (up to nine years) and the program ends on December 31, 2026.
  • Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS released proposed regulations on Opportunity Zones designed to incentivize investment in American communities. The Treasury Department plans on issuing additional guidance before the end of the year after notice and comment.
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