The founder of construction firm Clayco and the head of its related development firm, St. Louis-based CRG, are among the partners in a new venture aiming to raise and invest $1 billion in development projects throughout the Heartland using Opportunity Zones created by the 2017 tax law.

Clayco CEO Bob Clark and CRG President Shawn Clark have teamed up with prominent Chicago developer Scott Goodman of Farpoint Development to form Decennial Group. Advising the management team will be former Obama administration adviser Steve Glickman, who helped write the Opportunity Zone legislation while head of think tank Economic Innovation Group.

“Few Opportunity Zone investment platforms have the ability to manage all aspects of the investment and development life cycle from deploying private equity capital to underwriting strong deals to developing and managing the projects in these communities,” Bob Clark said in a statement. “CRG provides both development and site selection expertise as well as a full-service design-build group able to act quickly on great (Opportunity Zone) opportunities around the country.”

St. Louis and other regions have designated lower-income census tracts as qualified areas for investment. Investors can roll capital gains into projects in the areas to avoid a portion of taxes on those gains. Those who hold their investments there for a decade can be eligible for the biggest tax benefits.

The Opportunity Zones created in the 2017 tax law have generated interest from investors around the country even though all the regulations governing them have yet to be finalized. Projects like City Foundry and the Midas-developed hotels in Midtown and the Central West End have reportedly used the new mechanism to attract capital.

Decennial, the new venture, also includes a focus on renewable energy investments, led by David Pavlik of Chicago renewable energy firm 11 Million Acres.

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