Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus

Spotlight on Manistee County

Perhaps the last truly undiscovered community along Lake Michigan, Manistee is poised for discovery and economic growth.

With the Manistee Blacker Airport offering direct flights to Chicago, the area is increasingly a refuge for remote workers who wish to telecommute from an affordable town that is uniquely Northern Michigan. The area’s industrial legacy is prevalent in the many historic buildings downtown and large housing stock of historic homes, some of which have been renovated into B&Bs and offices. Take part in this resurgence by investing in the Downtown district, and transform a featured historical building on the Big Manistee River in the heart of Manistee’s culture and shopping district.

Value Proposition

Invest in Manistee and take advantage of numerous benefits:

  • Direct flights to Chicago at the The Manistee Blacker Airport
  • Two-hour drive time to Grand Rapids, three hours to Lansing, and four hour drive to Detroit
  • Commercial Great Lakes shipping via Manistee’s deep water port
  • Be a part of a robust and historic downtown district, with many independent small businesses, restaurants, breweries, and cultural spaces
  • In addition to Opportunity Zone benefits, Manistee Township has a Renaissance Zone, allowing tax-free light industrial and commercial development
  • Manistee is also a Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC), certified by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to be ‘thoroughly prepared’ for development in both planning and zoning

Manistee County’s Opportunity Zone encompasses a compact census tract on the coast of Lake Michigan that extends from the heart of downtown Manistee just into Manistee Township. It follows US 31 north from 3rd Street, and then Lakeshore Road up to Bar Lake at its northernmost edge. The Manistee River is at its southwestern border, with Manistee Lake to its east, makingthis Opportunity Zone an urban oasis surrounded by water.
Just a two-hour drive to Grand Rapids, three hours to Lansing, and four to Detroit, plus direct flights to Chicago via Manistee Blacker Airport that is located just 10 minutes from downtown, Manistee is quickly in reach of several major markets. Built on a strong history of manufacturing, the area’s diversified economy is on display at Manistee’s active deep water port, where lake freighters carry coal and other commodities through the harbor to the industries along Michigan’s lake towns.

Manistee has endless amenities to enjoy, from the Lake Michigan shoreline and inland lakes to the newly renovated downtown Vogue Theatre, historic lighthouses, and public “white sand” beaches. Picturesque natural assets—like the Big Manistee River, Portage Lake, Bear Lake, Orchard Beach State Park, the Huron-Manistee National Forest and public lands—drive the tourism and hospitality sector in Manistee.

About Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones is a federal incentive program created in 2017 to direct private, long-term capital investment in distressed and under-capitalized areas, stimulate economic development and encourage job creation. It is one of many tools available that increases the return on investment for investors, developers, community leaders, entrepreneurs and business interests.



Benefits to Investors

Tax Deferral

Any individual or corporation can defer taxes on their capital gains—profits from the sale of an asset (such as stock, land and/or a business)—until December 31, 2026 if they invest in an Opportunity Zone.

Step-Up Tax Reduction

If investments in Opportunity Zones are held for at least five or six years, tax liability on the original gain is reduced by 10%. Investors had until December 2019 to receive the full 15% capital gain tax reduction.

Tax-Free Growth

Investors can keep all appreciation on invested gains and permanent deferral of tax liability is given if investments are held in an Opportunity Zone for at least 10 years.

Graphic Courtesy of:

Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs)

  • Investments in Opportunity Zones are made through a qualified Opportunity Fund—an investment vehicle that is set up as either a partnership or corporation for investing in an eligible property or business that is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone
  • Any tax paying individual or entity (e.g. investment banks, CDFIs, philanthropy, angel groups, REITs and more) can self-certify as a local, regional or national Fund and finance a broad array of projects (housing, startup-businesses, industrial real estate, etc.).
  • QOFs must hold at least 90% of assets located in an Opportunity Zone in qualified opportunity zone businesses and or properties.

Opportunity Zones in Michigan

Michigan has 288 designated Opportunity Zones, three quarters of which are in urban areas. The state seeks to position its Opportunity Zones for investments in new housing, small businesses development; mixed-use projects, infrastructure and community resources; and job creation.

Visit for more information and resources.

Regional Story


Manistee was built along the banks of the Big Manistee River, an important commercial shipping route starting from the formation of the community. Founded in 1841, a great fire in 1871 devastated about half of the downtown, but settlers rebuilt the city including many of the historic buildings that line downtown today, and continued to build the mills, factories, and ports that would drive industry for the next century and a half. Field agriculture and fishing were important activities as well, contributing to the diversified economy that we see in Manistee today.

Current Industry Drivers

Manufacturing, Healthcare, Accommodation and Food Services, and Retail Trade make up the largest industry sectors by employment in Manistee. Several national companies have headquarters in Manistee, including PCA and Morton Salt, and are deeply rooted in the community. The West Shore Medical Center, Manistee Blacker Airport, and county offices and schools are among additional local employers. Over half of all workers who live in Manistee & Surrounding Townships are employed there, reflecting the area’s strong economic outlook. Over athird of Manistee residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, signaling a robust local labor pool.

Employment Center/Hub

Manistee features a robust small business community with lots of independent retailers. Small business entrepreneurs are fueled through local efforts like Spark Manistee, which offers $5,000 awards to new startup businesses, and is supported by the local Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Chamber organization.Take a boutique pop-up shop tour downtown, or stroll the Riverwalk, which meanders from the center of the business district all the way down to Lake Michigan.

Major Employers

Manistee Township is home to the two largest employers in Manistee County: the Michigan State Maximum Security Oaks Correctional Facility and the Little River Casino Resort. The Casino Resort, owned and managed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indian Tribe, is an attraction for visitors and locals alike, complete with hotel, spa, and concert venue.



The Manistee County Opportunity Zone Census Tract is served by several utility providers, including Consumers Energy for electric, DTE Energy for natural gas, and the City of Manistee for water and sewer service.

Charter Spectrum provides broadband internet access to the area.

Manistee County Population
4-Year Graduation Rate from Manistee Area Public Schools
% (#) of Population with a Degree




16.6 minutes
Average Commute Time, One Way
Percentage of All Workers who Live in the OZ That Work in Manistee County
Poverty Rate
Median Earnings
Median Household Income


Manistee’s industrial legacy is prevalent in the many historic buildings downtown and large housing stock of historic homes, some of which have been renovated into B&Bs and offices. In addition to this historic charm, housing in Manistee’s attractive residential areas is affordable. In Manistee City the median home value is just about $105,000, and only 10% of the housing stock are second residences, making this a truly tight knit community to call home.

Community Strengths

  • Manistee County Historical Society—Operates the Manistee County Historical Museum, a treasure trove of information about the region’s past and genealogy.
  • The Manistee County Community Foundation—Dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Manistee County, with over $2 million in grant investments to date into areas such as youth, education, the arts, environment, human services, and economic development.
  • Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce—Assists local businesses to build a healthier economy in Manistee County through advocacy, workforce and leadership development, networking opportunities, economic development, and more.
  • Manistee Downtown Development Authority—The mission of the Manistee Downtown Development Authority is to foster the development and promotion of an identifiable and attractive downtown area that will strengthen business and a sense of community ownership. Michigan DDAs are Tax Increment Financing entities to allocate funds for infrastructure, development, and other improvements within the DDA District.

Culture & Heritage


Manistee’s walkable and historic downtown district features incredible restaurants, unique shopping experiences, and picturesque waterfront views. Stroll the 1.5 mile Riverwalk with steps up to dining and retail stores, or dock at the Manistee Marina to arrive in style.

Arts & Culture

Downtown, the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts is a cultural hub featuring dance, theatre, and music shows, visual arts exhibits, and youth engagement programming. The historic Vogue Theatre in the city center was renovated in 2012 thanks to resident-led fundraising efforts, showcasing the community’s commitment and appreciation for arts and culture. Enjoy free summer concerts and the library, two accessible cultural assets in Manistee.

Dining & Shopping

Get a taste for regional culinary treats, local artisans, and Michigan wines, brews and spirits at annual festivals like Grapes on the River, or the Festival of Trees. In rural Onekama and Bear Lake, visit the area’s many craft wineries and cider mills. Iron Fish, a farm to bottle distillery, uses local grains in their award winning, hand crafted spirits.

Outdoor Recreation

Catch spring and fall bird migration at the Lake Bluff Audubon Society Bird Center, and birdwatch all year round at the Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve. The Arcadia Marsh boardwalk, a 0.75 mile, accessible elevated path that creates easy hiking and birding, and is the gateway to the 400-acre Arcadia Marsh that borders Arcadia Lake and is preserved by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. Fish for abundant coho and steelhead, explore more than 150 miles of trail, golf, and boat Manistee’s many recreational outlets

Project Sheets/Investment Opportunities

Download Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus

Download Fact Sheet