Black Wall Street Workshop June 7th: City of Oakland Enterprise Zone

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:24:09
By: Ben Johnson

Oakland - The Black Wall Street Merchants Association's ( June 7th Business Development workshop is designed to breakdown the Oakland's Enterprise Zone.

Susana Villarreal the Enterprise Zone Coordinator for the City Of Oakland's Community and Economic Development Agency will present. In August 2006, Villarreal presented information before several Black Wall Street Merchants Association members at a forum dealing with opportunities and benefits, employee tax credits and City of Oakland Small business financing and grants.

Villarreal said, "The problem with most business retention issues in East Oakland and in the Black Wall Street District in particular is the lack of knowledge about available city supported resources." Villarreal said. "Our goal is to partner with the Black Wall Street Merchants Association and make those resources available on an annual basis in the form of workshops and seminars."

Enterprise Zone Purpose and Benefits - The program is designed to encourage businesses of all sizes to make new or additional investments that will improve

employment opportunities, spur economic growth and diversify business activity within the communities each zone encompasses. The primary benefit to qualifying businesses is a 100 percent abatement from local property taxes for at least three, and in some cases up to five, years on plant and equipment newly invested in the zone. Property tax exemptions of seven to 15 years may be available to businesses, making a sizeable investment and bringing well-paying jobs.

Rev. Michael Carter, Sr., Black Wall Street Chairman said, "Our business community members are seeking clarity in the areas of eligibility, extended abatements, development and construction process." Carter, Sr. said "The Application process and construction process must be clear and the playing field leveled."

Carter, Sr. said, "The California Budget Project's report entitled ""California's Enterprise Zones Miss the Mark"" indicates that the California's Enterprise Zone program fail to effectively target areas most in need of assistance...This is a great concern to me as a merchant leader and the businesses in the area." he said "In 2003 the cost of tax credits used by the Oakland enterprise zone totaled $9,243,550."

The promising news is Since 2003, twenty-six retail buildings and office spaces have been built, refurbished or remodeled in the BWSD area. For the first time in 30-plus years a city representative has focused on the economic issues from High street to 81st Avenue along International Blvd. (formally East 14th Street). Monitoring the tax flow in and out of the BWSD community.

Villarreal's contribution to our city includes hiring tax credit services, business development, annual job fair coordination and WIB website management. Villarreal can be contacted at 510.238.7794 The workshop will be held at the Haywood Brothers Karate School - 4430 International Boulevard, Black Wall Street District in Oakland. For more information visit or call 888.616.3110.