STATE AND LOCAL INCENTIVES IN TARGETED AREAS OF WYTHE COUNTY, WYTHEVILLE, AND RURAL RETREAT
Just what is an Enterprise Zone?
An Enterprise Zone is an area targeted for economic expansion. Special local and state incentives can then be offered to new and/or expanding businesses within the zone. These incentives serve as tools for growth – sometimes making the difference between a business undertaking an expansion or deciding to locate in that zone versus elsewhere.
Who determines what areas and incentives are included in an Enterprise Zone?
The Wythe County Board of Supervisors worked with the Wytheville Town Council and the Rural Retreat Town Council to designate areas each saw as critical in their vision for economic development.
The Joint IDA of Wythe County then applied to the Virginia Dept. of Housing and Community Development to expand the existing Enterprise Zones to include those areas selected by the County and Towns. Approval was granted early January, 2015, retroactive to the beginning of 2014. Meaning qualifying business activity in 2014 would be eligible for the incentive programs as well.
What’s the history of Wythe County’s Enterprise Zone?
Wythe County’s Enterprise Zone was recognized in 2004 and recently renewed in 2014. Originally, Progress Park made up the zone. Once the renewal was in place, the expansion requested was acted upon and now Wythe County’s Zone includes much more than Progress Park.
What areas make up the Enterprise Zone?
- Downtown Wytheville
- Portions of the Town of Rural Retreat near the I-81 exit 60 interchange area
- An area of land that follows along I-81 from the Wytheville corporate limits at Reed Creek to past Grahams Forge at exit 86.
- Progress Park
- Part of Fairview Industrial Park
What are these incentives?
At the state level, certain economic activity in the Enterprise Zone allows access to two different programs:
- Job creation grant: This grant allows for up to $500 per year per net new permanent full-time position earning at least 175% of the Federal minimum wage with health benefits. Up to $800 a year per net position could be granted if the position earns at least 200% of minimum wage. The eligibility threshold is at greater than four jobs created. Renewable for up to a total of five years.
- Real property investment grant: This program provides for a grant of up to $100,000 for an investment of less than $5 million and a grant of up to $200,000 for an investment exceeding $5 million in real property. To be eligible, investment in new construction must exceed $500,000. For renovation/rehabilitation, the investment must exceed $100,000.
At the local level, offerings vary by location.