Council may be stealing economic opportunity

If you are like a lot of people, your eyes may start to glaze over at the mere mention of “Opportunity Zones,” but stick with me as there is a fascinating story of apparent desperation, questionable motives, and possibly deceitful tactics in order to stem any growth in Boulder.

What are Opportunity Zones anyway?

Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 federal tax reform package, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as a way to incentivize investors to improve and revitalize communities across the country that have languished while the rest of the US enjoyed a terrific boom.  Specifically, an Opportunity Zone is a census tract that Congress designated as eligible (read struggling) to receive private capital investments through “Opportunity Funds,” which allow investors to receive a deferral, reduction, or possibly even elimination of federal capital gains taxes, depending on how long they keep their money invested in a qualifying property and how much they improve it.

So what?

This is where the story gets interesting.  Gov. Hickenlooper, seemingly with support from Boulder at the time, designated a Boulder census tract that runs from 28th to 55th Streets and from Iris to Arapahoe Avenue as an Opportunity Zone.  While virtually every other municipality welcomed these designations as an opportunity to revitalize their struggling communities, the Boulder City Council placed a moratorium on its Opportunity Zone, blocking investment.  And did I mention that this is a limited time offer?

If you are new to the area or have not been following local politics closely (and who could blame you?), it might seem surprising that Boulder would block such investments.  However, as discussed in a previous column, a majority of the Boulder City Council appears to be beholden to Boulder’s CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) who do not want growth of any kind.  It seems they want things to be like it was “back then,” an apparently bygone era with fewer people, fewer businesses, etc.  When viewed through this lens, their actions, though by definition counter productive, make sense.

And now for the master stroke of the CAVE people: make it look to the public like they are lifting the moratorium, when they are actually downzoning large parts of the city.  Under the guise of lifting the Opportunity Zone moratorium and updating “use table standards,” the city will effectively downzone thousands of properties (not just in the Opportunity Zone), limiting office uses to 25 percent of floor area in the BR, BMS, and TB business zones, and limiting small office uses in residential zones.  This will make any existing building in an affected business zone with more than 25 percent office space a “non-conforming use,” meaning that changes or expansions to this use would require city approval through a non-conforming use review.  And what do you think the chances of getting approved would be?

This proposal by the city council runs counter to its stated positions on the environment, not to mention its own Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan policies supporting creation of 15-minute walkable neighborhoods and other policies favoring mixed-use planning, smart growth, and pedestrian uses.

If you are so inclined, you can share your opinion with the city council at council@bouldercolorado.gov, or if you are really motivated, you can attend the council’s public hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at 1777 Broadway.

Originally posted by Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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Leeds MBA Program Jumps 13 Points in Bloomberg Businessweek Rankings

University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business ranked No. 67 for its full-time MBA program, according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2018 rankings. The ranking is 13 points ahead of last year’s 80th placement.

When ranked only among public universities, Leeds rose to No. 29.

In the entrepreneurship category, the school ranked No. 10 overall, reflecting its Boulder and Front Range location’s access to a vibrant entrepreneurial business community with many venture capital and startup opportunities. Along with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, students have a strong network of connections and resources that enables them to excel.

Leeds attributes the significant rise in Bloomberg’s ranking to recent program enhancements, increased engagement and partnerships with the business community, and new faculty hires. Over the last two years, the school added faculty from noted universities including Berkeley, Northwestern, Wharton, London Business School, and Harvard.

Recently, Leeds partnered with more than 70 key business leaders and influencers, locally and globally, to understand essential skills and attributes students will need in the 21st century workplace.

“We are very proud of this momentum,” said Dean Sharon Matusik, “But we consider it just the beginning.” Matusik credits the teaching and research ability of a world-class faculty for Leeds success. “The classroom learning combined with access to our business community—which is known around the world for being entrepreneurial, innovative and with an orientation toward creating both economic and social value—provides a distinctive educational experience that prepares our graduates to positively transform the future of business.”

This year Bloomberg modernized the ranking methodology for business schools to assess MBA program value from the perspective of graduating students, recent alumni, and recruiting companies. Assessments are organized into four categories based on importance to respondents: Compensation, Learning, Networking and Entrepreneurship.

Bloomberg senior editor, Caleb Solomon, says this lets stakeholders decide critical factors for success. Bloomberg used the results and compensation data as building blocks for calculating overall ranking. 

For more about University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, visit https://www.colorado.edu/business/

To see Bloomberg rankings visit http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-best-business-schools/

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 at 2:26pm.

Posted on December 8, 2018 at 9:07 pm
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