Tennessee isn’t just the home of country music, the Smoky Mountains, and whiskey. It’s also home to 176 Opportunity Zones, or communities where investors receive unique tax incentives. If you’ve been searching for the perfect area to invest in a business or real estate, Opportunity Zones in Tennessee could be just the ticket.
But 176 Opportunity Zones—that means you have an overwhelming number of choices for where to invest. Where do you start? What are the best cities for investing in Tennessee?
Opportunity Zones in Tennessee: What to Look for?
For the most part, Opportunity Zones are areas that need development in some way, usually financially. By investing in these zones, you have the opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of a neighborhood and help create a better environment for residents.
Here is a map of all the Opportunity Zones in Tennessee, provided by the state Department of Economic and Community Development:
See all the blue spots? Those are the census tracts that qualify as Opportunity Zones. Of all those blue spots, how do you decide where to invest?
There are a few key things to keep an eye out for when evaluating an Opportunity Zone:
- The population is relatively young
- Corporations are finding opportunities in the area
- New businesses are popping up
- The economy is starting to make a comeback
- The city is liveable
- People are starting to move to the area
Of course, it’s okay to invest in an Opportunity Zone that doesn’t have all of these features. (In fact, your investment can be what brings some of these qualities to the area!) But if you see some of these traits and feel the zone has potential, your investment could go a long way in the community.
When it comes to investment opportunities, three Tennessean cities stand out from the rest: Clarksville, Nashville, and Chattanooga.
The Top 3 Opportunity Zones in Tennessee
Located near the border of Tennessee and Kentucky, Clarksville is often overshadowed by bigger-name cities like Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. But the city is starting to receive the credit it deserves.
Clarksville is the second-fastest growing city in Tennessee. The average age is 30, meaning the city is drawing a lot of young people. Best of all, Money named it the best place to live in America in 2019!
Downtown Clarksville is booming, and what do you know… It’s located in an Opportunity Zone. Austin Peay State University has been expanding into the downtown area over the past two years. The financing of the Clarksville Multi-Purpose Events Center, where people can attend professional sporting events, is underway. The city is revamping local establishments, such as the Roxy Regional Theatre.
Big corporations are coming to town, too. For example, Google opened its 15th global data center in Clarksville in November 2019, a center that cost $600 million to construct.
It’s no secret that people are flocking to Nashville. U.S. News listed Nashville as one of the top 25 cities for transplants in 2019. The city attracts a younger crowd with its 20+ colleges and universities, including Vanderbilt, Belmont, and Strayer.
Nashville is in Davidson County, which contains 18 of Tennessee’s 176 Opportunity Zones. It is the third-fastest growing city in the state, one of the top 100 places to live in the country, and Forbes considers it one of the best U.S. cities to invest in real estate.
Locals refer to Nashville as the “City of 1,000 cranes.” While this is a begrudging way of saying there’s always construction going on, it also means there’s a lot of development happening around the city. Corporations have made their homes in the area, from Nissan to Dollar General to Tractor Supply.
It only takes two hours to drive from Nashville to Chattanooga, but the two cities couldn’t be more different. Chattanooga is a huge draw for outdoor enthusiasts, providing ample opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and more.
Along with Nashville, Chattanooga is also listed as one of the 100 best places to live in the country. It has struck a balance between city life and the great outdoors. Residents who like spending time in bigger cities can easily drive to Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, or Birmingham. It’s generally more affordable to live in Chattanooga than any of those big cities, which means investment opportunities could be more affordable, too.
Entrepreneurs and tech startups have started moving to Chattanooga. They’re drawn to the Chamber of Commerce’s INCubator, a development center downtown that provides support to startups. It’s the third-largest business incubator in the country, so it’s no wonder new businesses want to set up shop in this gorgeous city.
Interested in Opportunity Zones in Tennessee?
Sapphire Development specializes in helping people invest in Opportunity Zones in Tennessee, including in Clarkesville, Nashville, and Chattanooga. Ask about our current projects in these cities—we’d love to chat!