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Enterprise zone renewed

Governor Ralph S. Northam announced Monday, Dec. 23, the five-year renewal of 15 Virginia Enterprise Zone (VEZ) designations, including that of Lunenburg County.

According to a release pertaining to the renewal, businesses that locate in enterprise zones are eligible to receive state and local benefits. The program, the release cites, is a partnership between state and local government that encourages economic development through job creation and private investment.

Lunenburg County, located in VEZ 48, was designated as an enterprise zone in 2000. The release cites that legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2019 allows zones designated prior to 2005 to request one five-year renewal.

The release also states that the VEZ program has generated more than $1.5 billion in investment and the creation of 50,000 jobs in designated zones since 2015.

“The VEZ program is one of our most valuable tools for supporting local economic growth,” said Northam in a statement regarding the renewal. “Providing state and local incentives for new investments and higher-wage jobs makes these communities more competitive when a business is deciding where to locate or whether to expand in our Commonwealth.”

The VEZ program, according to the release, is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The program supports job creation and private investment by providing both state and local incentives, such as the Real Property Investment Grant (RPIG) and the Job Creation Grant (JCG). The release cites that businesses can earn up to $200,000 in RPIGs during a five-year period and up to $800 in JCGs per position, per year over a five-year period, depending on the wages offered.

Brian Ball, secretary of commerce and trade, stated that the program attracts many investments to Virginia’s localities. “In the last five years, firms receiving VEZ incentives in the 15 renewed zones created 354 net new jobs and invested over $63 million in real estate improvements, and there is more investment to come with the renewal of the zones,” said Ball.

The release highlighted that recommendations for the 15 zone renewals are based on the continued need for such a zone, the effectiveness of each enterprise zone in creating jobs and providing capital investment incentives, and the individual locality’s performance of enterprise zone responsibilities.

Additional information about the program is available at dhcd.virginia.gov/vez