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Developing in Opportunity Zones: What Does it Mean for Houston?

Developers, public officials and other leaders in Houston and other major cities across America talk regularly about how more housing and other amenities can be provided for our citizens across all neighborhoods. A new tool called opportunity zones has become one of the most discussed topics in this larger conversation. Come learn from our expert panel about how opportunity zones can support and are supporting future housing and other developments.


Patrick Ezzell
Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation

Patrick Ezzell is President of Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation, UP CDC and Managing Director of Economic Development and Capital Infrastructure at the Greater East End Management District.  Mr. Ezzell has an MBA in Economic Development from University of Houston College Systems, and has worked for over 25 years in development and construction industries.  In 2010 Mr. Ezzell joined the East End Management District where he works to promote new capital investment through promotion and economic incentives for both small and large businesses.  He is responsible for the management of capital projects of public infrastructure in order to improve neighborhoods and the business environment.  His most notable project to date is the redevelopment of the Navigation Esplanade in front of the original Ninfa’s that has been constructed as a public venue for festivals and markets.  In collaboration with the management district Mr. Ezzell recently formed UP CDC to catalyze economic development through commercial and industrial real estate projects. UP CDC is working on launching the East End Maker Hub in partnership with TXRX labs that will both conduct high tech manufacturing workforce training and provide lease space for small batch manufacturers.


Brandon Jones

Brandon Jones is a member of Winstead’s Tax Practice Group. With
more than 15 years of experience, Brandon spends most of his time
assisting and advising closely-held and family-owned businesses and private equity clients in connection with (i) the formation of their business entities including drafting and negotiating the related governing documents, (ii) structuring and restructuring their business holdings, investments, and operations (for asset protection, income tax planning,
estate planning, and other commercial purposes), (iii) corporate governance matters, and (iv) drafting/negotiating joint venture agreements, private offering documents, and other agreements and/or documents related to mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, spin offs and
other general commercial matters.

Brandon has experience working with clients across a wide range of  industries, including energy, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, retail and waste recycling, and with many different types of business entities, including corporations, partnerships, LLCs, REITs and MLPs. Having spent the early part of his legal career working principally in the tax planning and structuring area, Brandon has a unique ability to counsel his clients on a wide array of transactional issues, ranging from income and estate tax planning to general corporate matters. As such, he frequently has the ability to serve as a one-stop-shop for his clients.

Steven LeBlanc
Vice President
Stonehenge Capital

Steven LeBlanc is engaged in Stonehenge’s Tax Credit Services business line with a primary focus on the origination, structuring, and underwriting of both state and federal historic tax credit transactions. Steven previously worked with Stonehenge’s’ Community Development line of business in Columbus where he was responsible for the origination and underwriting of junior capital investments with an emphasis on both state and federal New Market Tax Credit transactions. Prior to joining Stonehenge, Mr. LeBlanc worked as a senior auditor for Halliburton in Houston, Texas, where he was responsible for providing business advisory services to the company’s global management team. Mr. LeBlanc earned his B.S. in Finance from Louisiana State University.

Chris Rector

As a Director, Chris is responsible for sourcing, feasibility analysis, due diligence, budgeting, financing and management of multifamily development projects in the six cities in the Hines’ Southwest Region.

His career highlights include:

  • Responsible for underwriting, sourcing and financing of $1B+ total capitalization and 3,000+ units of multifamily product across 5 major metropolitan areas
  • Responsible for day-to-day project management activities of La Colombe d’Or Hotel & Residences and The Preston, two of Houston’s newest high-rise multifamily assets
  •  Assisted in debt and equity financing of 9 multifamily assets since 2015

Since joining Hines in 2015, Mr. Rector has developed broad experience including sourcing, financing and managing multifamily developments through design, construction, and lease up across the southwest United States. Chris holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Business Administration from Rice University.


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