AZCREW kicks off 2019 luncheon program with experts discussing opportunity zones

During Christine Mackay’s first year with the City of Phoenix, Midtown Phoenix, once a struggling office employment core, experienced more than two million square feet absorption, which included Banner Health’s relocation of its headquarters in 320,000 square feet. (Submitted photo)

Opportunity zones, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a way for investors to take advantage of a tax reduction and invest in local communities, is the topic of AZCREW’s first luncheon of 2019.

AZCREW is an organization for senior-level executive women in the Metro Phoenix commercial real estate field, according to a release.

Guest speakers for the Jan. 15 event at the Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. Seventh St., are Christine Mackay with the City of Phoenix and Byron Sarhangian with Snell & Wilmer.

AZCREW’s January lunch begins with networking at 11:30 a.m. The program starts at 11:45 a.m. Member registration is $45, with early bird by Jan. 4, $40; and non-member pre-registration is $65. Lunch is included. Registration ends Jan. 10. Register at

Arizona had 168 opportunity zones approved at the federal level, the most allowed by the law. Areas that were designated include much of downtown Phoenix, around Sky Harbor International Airport, Mesa and Old Town Scottsdale.

According to the law creating the opportunity zones, if investors keep their money in the fund for at least 10 years, there are no taxes on what was earned from the investment, only on the original capital gain used to invest in the fund, according to the release.

The money must be invested within 180 days for it to be eligible. Investors can re-invest capital gains realized from a sale of property, stock, or business to defer paying taxes.

Ms. Mackay joined the City of Phoenix as community and economic development director director in August 2014. She was recruited to lead the community and economic development department, which includes the business development team, business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurial efforts, downtown development, international, retail and workforce development, according to the release.

During her first year, Midtown Phoenix, once a struggling office employment core, experienced more than two million square feet absorption, which included Banner Health’s relocation of its headquarters in 320,000 square feet. During the past five years, she has helped locate or expand more than 180 companies into the Valley, according to the release.

Mr. Sarhangian is based in Snell & Wilmer’s Phoenix office where he serves as co-chair of the firm’s real estate practice group and opportunity zone industry group. His practice is concentrated in real estate and business transactions, which include purchase and sale transactions, leasing, financing and brokerage matters, according to the release.

He advises large and small corporate clients in corporate real estate matters throughout the U.S. His practice also involves drafting and negotiating construction agreements for owners, lenders, general contractors and subcontractors.

He is currently representing investors, fund sponsors and developers with respect to the opportunity zone program. He has worked on property exchange agreements between state entities as well as a variety of zoning and permitting matters, according to the release.

As part of CREW Network, a networking coalition, AZCREW is dedicated to advancing the success of women in commercial real estate, according to the release.

CREW Network’s membership of more than 11,000 professionals in more than 70 major global markets represents all aspects of commercial real estate, providing its members with direct access to real estate professionals across all geographies and disciplines. Go to

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