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Empowerment Zone

What is the Empowerment Zone?

In 1999, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designated the Miami-Dade County Empowerment Zone as one of thirty-one communities in the country. The purpose of the Empowerment Zone federal initiative is to create jobs and business opportunities by offering various tax credits and cash incentives in the most economically distressed areas of the country.

What sets the Empowerment Zone initiative apart from previous urban revitalization efforts is that the community drives the decision-making. Residents decide what happens in their neighborhoods, not government officials. Each Empowerment Zone community has written "benchmarks" or quantifiable goals that determine how the funds will be spent and what the results of the activity will be.  

The Empowerment Zone / Enterprise Community Program is a Presidential initiative designed to create self-sustaining, long-term economic development in areas of deep poverty and unemployment. The program provides federal dollars, economic incentives, and other assistance to federally designated rural and urban communities.
Empowerment Zone Opportunities

Tax Exempt Bond Financing - A special tax-exempt bond, outside of the state volume cap, that may provide lower than market interest rates for large-scale business expansion and job creation projects.

Deductions - An IRS Section 179 Expensing increase that may provide up to $37,000 for investments in capital and equipment.

Qualified Zone Academy Bonds - A bond program that may provide funds for the use of a “Qualified Zone Academy”, which is a public school or academic program within a public school at a secondary level or below that meet certain requirements. Certain banks, insurance companies and corporations that are actively engaged in the business of lending money, can receive a tax credit as an incentive to hold these bonds.

Revolving Loan Fund Program - A program that may provide easier access to capital and affordable financing to small and minority-owned businesses that do not meet standard credit criteria. Loans will range from $10,000 to $250,000 and must be used for general business purposes, excluding real estate. The initial available capital is expected to be $4,000,000.  

Welfare-to-Work Credit - A credit that may provide businesses with an incentive to hire long-term family assistance recipients.

Brownfields Tax Incentives - An environmental clean up cost deduction that may provide an incentive to clean up certain sites that are contaminated with hazardous substances.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit - A federal tax credit that may provide businesses with incentives of up to $2,400 for each eligible employee and up to $3,000 for each eligible summer youth employee.

Where are the Empowerment Zones in the City of Miami?

The Miami-Dade Zone is managed by the Empowerment Zone Trust, a non-profit organization responsible for maximizing the use of federal dollars. The City of Miami works closely with the Trust through City departments and the Neighborhood Assemblies. Led by representatives who live and work directly in the community, these Assemblies are responsible for determining the best use of their community dollars.  

Five of the eight neighborhood assemblies are in the City of Miami, nearly 75% of the entire Miami-Dade Zone. They are: Allapattah, Wynwood, Overtown, East Little Havana, and Model City. In addition to the areas participating in the Neighborhood Assembly process, the City of Miami portion of the Empowerment Zone also includes much of the downtown central business district, west Omni and Watson Island. While each neighborhood has its own architecture, history and character, they share the common advantage of an excellent location— the City of Miami.

Allapattah, home to produce markets and industrial properties, is well situated between the airport and the seaport. The 20th street merchant's corridor, between 27th and 17th avenues, is now famous for its multiple garment manufacturing and wholesale retail outlets attracting buyers and exporters from all over, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean. Nearby, the Produce Market, the largest open-air food distribution center in Miami, serves local supermarkets and "bodegas" alike with the freshest variety of South Florida produce, tropical fruits and many other products. The area is also home to the Medical Center which features world renowned facilities such as the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The largest industrial area of the City is located in Allapattah. Many trades are well represented here and a wide range of services are offered: clothes manufacturers, auto repair shops, paint and body shops, carpentry and upholstery shops, junkyards, shipyards and dry docks located along the banks of the Miami River.

Wynwood/Edgewater, home to the fashion and garment trade, shares the same benefits of proximity to the airport and seaport with the added advantage of nearby highways and rail line. It’s proximity to Miami's downtown business district and its attractive, reasonably priced high-rise residences with beautiful views of the bay, make it especially appealing for many of those who work in the heart of the City. Places of interest in the area include the Bakehouse Art Complex, a training locale and exposition center for many aspiring local artists and craftsmen which boasts the only certified jewelry school in the Southeastern United States. Nearby, the Fashion and Garment District is a concentration of manufacturing and wholesale distribution retail outlets that have special appeal for shoppers from all over the world. The Bacardi Company, manufacturers of the world renowned rum, with its famous ceramic tile façade, stands like a beacon on Biscayne Boulevard.

Overtown, one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods rich in history, is located within minutes of both the central business district and the regional medical center. Overtown has played a historic role in the life of the City for decades, as a center of American black culture and commercial activity with significant potential for both commercial and residential growth through public and private investment. Overtown's location is a plus, centrally located to the business district and well as to the city's major medical and civic centers. It is also conveniently close to the downtown campus of Miami-Dade College.

East Little Havana is a mostly residential community lying directly East of downtown along the historic Miami River. Landmark sites and attractions within the East Little Havana area include the Orange Bowl, home of the well-known University of Miami Hurricanes football team. The 2506 Brigade Memorial stands in honor of the Cuban patriots who fought in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Máximo Gómez Park, better known as "Domino Park" is the place where old, middle aged and young people meet over a traditional game of dominoes. Along the Miami River, many river related industries are found while yachts, sailboats, cruisers and houseboats pack more than a score of public and private docks.

Model City is located at the north end of the city and consists of a number of districts these include, residential, commercial, cultural and educational that together comprise a single community of quiet homes, entrepreneurial activity and economic growth. Its population is made up mostly of African-American residents. In addition an area  is in transition, where local business leaders together with active community members, are shaping a new and better quality of life within the neighborhood.

Click here to find out if your property is located within the Empowerment Zone

For more information on the Empowerment Zone, please contact:
Miami-Dade County
Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED)
701 NW 1st Court, 14th Floor
Miami, FL 33136
Office: 786.469.2100
Fax: 786.469.2170


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