Enterprise Zones and Commercial District Revitalization

There are currently 45 designated enterprise zones across Virginia and included in those are 12 designated Virginia Main Street communities, as well as numerous affiliate communities. Over the past several years, we have seen the overlap of these two revitalization tools to transform many of our downtowns and commercial districts throughout the commonwealth.

The Enterprise Zone Program provides two state incentives, as well as local incentives, to promote private investment and job creation within the zones. Some localities, such as South Boston, have tailored their local incentives to attract businesses to their central business district, and others are starting to think more holistically about the amenities and businesses they would like to see in their central business districts.

The state’s Real Property Investment Grant (RPIG) is available to investors who are constructing, rehabbing or expanding buildings for commercial, industrial or mixed-use. The vast majority of grantees over the past five years have been commercial and mixed-use projects, which fit in well with downtown and commercial district revitalization. The projects that have qualified for RPIG grants over the last five years have created more than $1 billion in private investment!

The Center for Urban and Regional Analysis at VCU conducted a study of the Enterprise Zone Program in 2016 and found that RPIG has significantly improved local property values, and the ripple effect can be seen over a quarter mile outside the zone boundaries.

The Enterprise Zone Program is another tool that communities can use to incentivize investment to help revitalize commercial corridors and central business districts. For more information about the program, contact ezone@dhcd.virginia.gov.