Enterprise Zone Designation
In December, Governor Terry McAuliffe visited Newport News to announce that he would designate a new Virginia Enterprise Zone for the City of Newport News. International Communications Group, an Enterprise Zone recipient, hosted the announcement at its facility in Oakland Industrial Park. Location in a Virginia Enterprise Zone offers new and existing businesses the opportunity to receive cash grants from the Commonwealth for job creation and real property improvements. In addition, the City of Newport News and Economic Development Authority offer a comprehensive package of local Enterprise Zone incentives for both new and existing businesses.
The new Virginia Enterprise Zone covers critical economic development opportunity sites in Newport News, such as Oakland Industrial Park, Patrick Henry CommerCenter, Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Air Commerce Park and the Upper Warwick Boulevard Retail Corridor.
EDA staff prepared and submitted a competitive application on behalf of the City of Newport News to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for this Virginia Enterprise Zone designation earlier in the year. The application was made in response to the pending expiration of
two of Newport News’ three existing Enterprise Zones which reach the end of their 20-year designation periods on December 31st.
The Virginia Enterprise Zone designation application process is extremely competitive with many communities vying for access to state funding for economic development projects across the Commonwealth. Additionally, there is a limit on the total number of Virginia Enterprise Zones which the governor can designate, making it difficult for communities to successfully receive multiple designations.
This new designation is critical to maintaining access to the Virginia Enterprise Zone program by leveraging state funding for critical economic development projects. Access to this program assists Newport News in attracting new businesses and assisting with existing business expansions, particularly among strong international competition for economic development projects. The new Virginia Enterprise Zone goes into effect on January 1, 2015, and will have a 10-year term, with the opportunity for two five-year renewal periods, for a total of 20 years.