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Former Microsoft Execs Launch Opportunity Zone Fund, ID First Projects For Investment

Smartcap is currently developing an industrial warehouse in Arlington and is under contract to acquire 12.5 acres for an opportunity zone project.

Seizing on the excitement around opportunity zones, former Microsoft executives Tim Shoultz and Joe Ollis have launched an opportunity zone fund.

The fund's first project will be an industrial building in Arlington. Their company, Smartcap, is currently under contract to acquire 12.5 acres in Arlington for the project.

Opportunity zones were created to stimulate economically depressed areas through private investment, rather than through taxpayer money. Those who invest through opportunity funds in those areas may be eligible for tax breaks.

“We are thrilled to be on the leading edge of opportunity zones as a company and we’ve seen significant interest from our investors,” Shoultz said in an email. “Opportunity zones unlock a significant amount of capital that is tied up because people are unwilling to take the tax hit on the sale of their assets. Not only does this create an opportunity for investors to sell stock or other assets, it also helps spur jobs and growth in a number of lower income communities, which is a big win for everyone.”

Smartcap chose the property after a market analysis showed a growing demand for industrial space north of Seattle. Land in Everett was either too expensive or difficult to develop, Shoultz said.

“It is quite difficult to find quality dirt in a good location to meet this growing market need,” he said. 

Smartcap is also currently developing a 95,520 SF Class-A industrial warehouse in Arlington that is expected to be complete by this spring. The flexible design includes dock-high and grade-level access.

The company has raised more than $55M in total equity and completed $150M in transactions since 2010. Smartcap will soon be raising an additional $30M to $50M for another opportunity zone project targeting the South Seattle market.

CORRECTION, JAN. 14, 8:13 P.M. PT: A previous version of this story misspelled Tim Shoultz's name. The story has been updated.