Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller announced the creation of a new technology park for the city Tuesday, which he and city leaders believe will attract new businesses to the city.
The Opelika Innovation and Technology Park has 105 acres of land along Highway 280 West between Veterans and Waverly parkways, in close proximity to Auburn University, Southern Union State Community College, Tiger Town and East Alabama Medical Center.
“I think it’s going to be positive because a number of investors are looking for a place — an opportunity zone — because of the wonderful tax ramifications that it offers investors,” Mayor Gary Fuller said, adding that he thinks the new park will be popular and that the city will hopefully announce its first tenant soon.
John Sweatman, project manager for the city’s department of economic development, said it’s now a matter of letting businesses know about what the park has to offer, and to target companies that would make good fits for the city.
The land for the park is classified as an opportunity zone, which benefits and provides incentives for businesses to move there. Not only is the cost for build-to-suit leasing cheaper, but businesses in opportunity zones also are prioritized for grant making and can benefit from investing in their own operations.
“Opelika has been incredibly proactive about harnessing the power of its Opportunity Zone. Its vision for building a place where innovation and technology can co-exist matches perfectly with the spirit of the Opportunity Zone incentive, which facilitates investment in both buildings and the companies that occupy them,” said Alexander Flachsbart, founder and CEO of Opportunity Alabama, in a news release announcing the new plan.
Gov. Kay Ivey has designated 158 Opportunity Zones across the state.