Cresset, Hines unveil Denver OZ project

  • Why this is important: firms are going to start ramping up OZ projects and funds as the first deadline for the program approaches.

Cresset Capital and real estate firm Hines announced their newest opportunity zone investment Tuesday, a 10-story multi-family development on the northern edge of Denver’s River North neighborhood, known as RiNo.

The development, North Wynkoop, will include 392 “luxury urban-style residences,” according to a Cresset press release. It is the second investment for the Cresset-Diversified QOZ Fund, taking advantage of the opportunity zones program that was included in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act signed by President Donald Trump in 2017. Cresset and Hines are already building the Preston, a 46-story luxury for-rent tower in downtown Houston.

North Wynkoop “represents a top-quality real estate property in Denver, one of the fastest growing urban areas in the United States,” said Avy Stein, co-founder of Cresset, in the press release. “Adding in the tax benefits of the QOZ, we became even more excited about this property.”

Cresset’s development is part of a larger master redevelopment plan, which includes hotels, office buildings, retail spaces and a live event center in Denver’s RiNo area, the press release said.

Cresset and Hines are not alone in targeting Denver’s opportunity zones. Halpern Real Estate Ventures recently told Buyouts they were in the process of finalizing their own deal in RiNo, a $200 million mixed-use development.

The Cresset-Diversified QOZ Fund is a joint venture of Cresset and Diversified Real Estate Capital, both based in Chicago. It is raising $500 million in capital commitments, according to the press release. Cresset is a multi-strategy private investment firm co-founded by Stein and Eric Becker, formerly of Willis Stein and Sterling Partners, respectively.

Opportunity zones were spearheaded in Congress by South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott. They provide a series of tax breaks to investors who roll their capital gains into a qualified opportunity zone fund for investment in one of 8,700 designated census tracts across the country.

Action item: contact Cresset here.