Catalyst Opportunity Funds, a private equity firm focused on opportunity zone investment, has completed investments for its first three projects, located in Salt Lake City and Bozeman, Montana.
Catalyst’s initial developments will convert underutilized real estate into office, residential and retail space within neighborhoods that offer growth potential but lack capital investment and quality development. Catalyst intends to invest more than $28 million into the three projects.
Catalyst’s first two Salt Lake City projects include “Industry SLC” and “Pickle and Hide.” The firm said that both are in an industrial neighborhood in downtown Salt Lake City, called the Granary District. The projects involve repurposing dilapidated industrial buildings into office, retail space and affordable housing.
Industry SLC is a repositioning of an old iron forge dating from the early 1900s totaling roughly 340,000 square feet of space. Once complete, it will house a creative office campus and community and event space, and in a subsequent phase, residential workforce housing.
Catalyst’s Pickle and Hide investment is expected to transform two historic industrial buildings into creative office and retail space, as well as outdoor gardens and community event areas. The development will also include affordable housing units for low- to moderate-income residents in the community.
Additionally, Catalyst is investing in a 60-unit workforce apartment complex in Bozeman, Montana, called “Enterprise.” The units are expected to be offered at 66 percent of median family income per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program.
“These are not one-off developments, but rather calculated investments centered around longevity and anchored by job growth, affordable office space and community needs,” said Patrick McKenna, managing partner at Catalyst. “Job creation is at the core of community revitalization, and to do that we want to cultivate areas that draw in workers and businesses. This is core to our investment thesis with the opportunity zone program. We want to help spur this type of tangible change and target market-rate returns.”
Established through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, opportunity zones are a community development incentive that offers tax benefits for investors who make long-term commitments in certain low-income communities.
Catalyst said that it is currently reviewing more than 50 projects across 18 states, with a total value of approximately $2.2 billion.
Catalyst focuses on making opportunity zone investments in small and midsize markets throughout the U.S.