Huizenga lobbied Rick Scott to secure Opportunity Zone designation for West Palm site

Related Group is a partner on the $100M project

Nov.November 15, 2019 05:45 PM
Wayne Huizenga Jr., Rick Scott and Rybovich superyacht marina  (Credit: Wikipedia, Google Maps)

Wayne Huizenga Jr., Rick Scott and Rybovich superyacht marina  (Credit: Wikipedia, Google Maps)

The son of Blockbuster video billionaire Wayne Huizenga successfully lobbied then-Gov. Rick Scott to include the site of his $100 million West Palm Beach development into an Opportunity Zone, according to a ProPublica investigation.

The Opportunity Zone legislation, passed in December 2017 as part of President Trump’s tax code overhaul, was intended to help low-income neighborhoods. In this case, it benefits Wayne Huizenga Jr.’s plans to build luxury apartment towers on the Marina Village site. His partner on the project is Related Group developer Jorge Pérez, and Related Companies’ Stephen Ross owns a portion of the Related Group.

Over the last decade, Ross, Pérez, Huizenga and their families have given at least $1 million to Scott and the Republican party of Florida, ProPublica reported. A week after Huizenga Jr. sent a letter to Scott to include the census tract into the federal program, Scott revealed the areas he had selected in Florida, which included the tract, home to the Rybovich superyacht marina owned by Huizenga, where he’s planning to develop apartments.

The state of Florida did not originally include that area as an Opportunity Zone, and Scott rejected other poorer census tracts that the city of West Palm Beach had requested be included. Scott is now a state senator.

Investors who develop in one of the 8,000 designated Opportunity Zones throughout the country can defer federal taxes on capital gains until Dec. 31, 2026. Investors can reduce that tax payment by as much as 15 percent and pay no taxes on possible profits from an Opportunity Zone fund if they hold onto the investment for 10 years.

A spokesperson for Scott told ProPublica that the former governor focused on job creation in low-income areas. Rybovich’s president said the motivation to secure the Opportunity Zone designation was to “create incentives for redevelopment by third parties in the surrounding neighborhood.” [ProPublica] – Katherine Kallergis

Related Articles

Census tract 135 and Stellar Management's Larry Gluck (Credit: Getty Images and Stellar Management)

How a small stretch of land on the Far West Side became an Opportunity Zone

CrowdStreet CEO Tore Steen and vice president Darren Powderly (Credit: CrowdStreet and iStock)

Crowdfunding platform launches $20M Opportunity Zone fund

Related's Jamar Adams and Steve Ross with 14-06 Gateway Boulevard (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

Related is the latest developer to target the Rockaways

Related CEO Jeff Blau (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Related’s Blau on tenants with cash: “It’s their obligation to pay”

Michael Halloran

EB-5 fund administrator sells amid push to resurrect program

RCP CEO Richard O’Toole and Related CFO David Zussman (Credit: O’Toole via Westchester Magazine and Zussman via Related)

Related tries to calm Israeli investors after market panic

Related CEO Stephen Ross (Credit: Ross by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images; Wikipedia Commons)

Related’s Israeli bonds worry auditors as crisis worsens

Marlene Cintron, the Bronx’s head of economic development (Credit: iStock)

“It didn’t happen:” Bronx leader says Opportunity Zone program failed to deliver