Opportunity Zones developer files for South LA resi project

SoLa Impact’s proposed 68-unit complex would be latest to utilize federal tax break

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Sep.September 24, 2020 01:50 PM
Martin Muoto and 4238 S. Western Ave. (Credit: Google Maps)
Martin Muoto and 4238 S. Western Ave. (Credit: Google Maps)

A developer who has touted Opportunity Zones as a “godsend” filed plans for his latest project to utilize the federal tax break, a 68-unit apartment complex building in South Los Angeles.

Through his company SoLa Impact, Martin Muoto wants to build the project at 4238 S. Western Avenue in the Vermont Square neighborhood. Plans were filed with the City Planning Commission. The project includes ground-floor parking.

The developer is also requesting a Transit Oriented Communities incentive with L.A. That allows developers of projects near transit stations to increase the size of the construction in exchange for setting aside a percentage of units as affordable housing.

Muoto started SoLa in 2015, billing it as an emerging provider of affordable housing in South L.A. The company says it has built 1,500 units of affordable housing in that area and claims to be the largest Section 8 landlord in the area. The company didn’t return messages on Thursday.

Muoto said SoLa has raised $165 million to build multifamily properties, he told Black Enterprise last year.

A large portion of that money is earmarked for properties in designated Opportunity Zones, which provides generous tax breaks to real estate developers and other investors for pouring money into distressed neighborhoods.

The program has faced pushback in recent months from Congressional Democrats and watchdog groups, who see it as a tax break for the wealthy.

“A lot of the narrative out there is that Opportunity Zones are just a tax break for the rich,” Muoto told Black Enterprise. “In reality, Opportunity Zones have the potential of bringing billions of dollars to communities that have been starved for capital. These are often urban, African American communities.”


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