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Chris Christie Jumps Into Opportunity Zone Game, Seeks $150M For OZ Fund

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has co-founded a property investment fund specializing in opportunity zones, Hampshire Christie Qualified Opportunity Fund. The other co-founder is Hampshire Cos., a real estate investment firm whose chairman is Christie political ally Jon Hanson II

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

The fund is aiming to raise about $150M, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing an anonymous source. 

Hampshire Christie Qualified Opportunity Fund will focus on New Jersey and other Northeast states, with four apartment developments in Hackensack, New Jersey, and a self-storage property in New London, Connecticut, as its first investments.

Hanson told Bloomberg that the former governor has connections with, as well as insights into, New Jersey communities and other places where the fund might invest. 

Mary Pat Christie, Chris Christie's wife and a former Angelo Gordon & Co. investment director, is executive vice president of the fund. According to Hanson, the fund will rely on her business-development experience.

Hanson served as finance chairman for Christie's 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial campaigns. In 2010, Christie appointed Hanson as chairman of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission. 

According to the WSJ, discussions between Christie and Hampshire Cos. about a potential fund started not long after the governor left office in early 2018.

Christie is the latest public figure to get into opportunity zones, which were created in late 2017 to offer tax breaks to encourage development in poor areas. The second set of OZ regulations were published earlier this year.

Short-time White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci launched an opportunity fund through his investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, and former Obama administration senior economic adviser Steve Glickman runs an opportunity-zone advisory business.