Isle of Wight Enterprise Zone expansion approved
Published 12:46 pm Friday, February 3, 2023
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development has approved Isle of Wight County’s application for a major expansion to a portion of the joint Enterprise Zone it shares with Franklin and Southampton County.
Isle of Wight’s Department of Economic Development noted in a Friday, Jan. 20, news release that Isle of Wight’s original Enterprise Zone designation was granted in 2011 and includes three subzones totaling 2,438 acres near the town of Windsor and in the Camptown area adjacent to the city of Franklin.
The expansion adds 151 acres to Windsor Subzone 1 for future industrial development and 519 acres to the Camptown Subzone, which now includes Franklin Regional Airport and Franklin Industrial Air Park.
During a Wednesday, Jan. 18, interview, Isle of Wight County Economic Development Director Chris Morello said, “We are incredibly pleased with the commonwealth’s approval to expand our existing zones with 670 additional acres because Enterprise Zones help us make property for industrial uses more attractive for both expansions and for new business investments in the county. Potential impacts are really significant because the combined local and state incentives which Enterprise Zones enable can help drive more job creation and more capital investments than would be achieved without them.”
The Jan. 20 news release stated that Virginia’s Enterprise Zone program was created to assist the development and redevelopment of economically distressed areas of the state by providing state grant funding for job creation and real property investment within these areas. Isle of Wight offers local incentives, including machinery and tools tax rebates and job creation grants, for qualifying businesses located within the Enterprise Zone.
Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park Phase II, which is home to Keurig Dr Pepper and Safco Products Co., is within the original Windsor Subzone I, the release noted. Phase III of the park is within Windsor Subzone 2.
“The 151 acres of expansion territory on the north side of U.S. 460 is directly adjacent to the town of Windsor, so more employment for Windsor residents and the economic benefits that would come directly to retail stores, restaurants and services in Windsor are really important aspects of the overall impacts,” Morello said.
Windsor Mayor George Stubbs said he thinks the Enterprise Zone expansion will be a benefit to the town and could help create possibly hundreds of jobs.
The release stated that the International Paper campus and surrounding industrial properties are part of the original Camptown Subzone.
Officials then noted in the release that since the original Enterprise Zone was granted in Isle of Wight County, Keurig Dr Pepper, ST Tissue and Franklin Lumber have all received state and local incentives for job creation and machinery and tools investments.
“With these major new zone expansions comes an incredible amount of competitiveness to secure existing businesses growth and attract firms that are new to the area,” Morello said in the release. “Gaining more great jobs and more new investments within the expansion acres is our overarching objective, and the commonwealth’s approval of our expansions helps our community meet that important objective in the coming years.”
All of Isle of Wight’s, Franklin’s and Southampton’s zones are jointly registered with the commonwealth and administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development, officials stated in the release. Expansions in one jurisdiction are reviewed by the other jurisdictions in a joint zone prior to commonwealth approval.
“As partners, we are thrilled that the expansion of the Enterprise Zone now includes the city-owned Franklin Regional Airport and Franklin Industrial Air Park as these are in the Camptown shared revenue district,” Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. President and CEO Karl Heck said in the release. “This will be a huge benefit in recruitment of businesses and support the continued growth in that area.”
Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt noted in a Monday, Jan. 23, interview that the city has always maintained a strong partnership with Southampton and Isle of Wight counties with the joint Enterprise Zone designation, and she echoed Heck’s sentiments.
“It is a highly successful program, and we are thrilled that Isle of Wight has seen fit to include the city-owned property located at the Franklin Regional Airport and additional property in the revenue sharing area,” she said. “We have seen the direct positive results of this incentive program and look forward to additional investment and jobs in our community as a result of it.”
Southampton County Administrator Brian S. Thrower expressed excitement for what the zone expansion will mean for the county as well.
“Southampton County is pleased to have assisted in Isle of Wight County’s Enterprise Zone expansion application,” he said in a Jan. 13 interview. “All three localities economically benefit by working together on a regional basis. Isle of Wight’s Enterprise Zone expansion should help facilitate the attraction of new investment and jobs to our region, particularly in the Camptown Subzone area now encompassing the former Airway Shopping Center and Franklin Regional Airport.”
The release concluded by stating that Isle of Wight County’s portion of the joint Enterprise Zone program is administered by its Economic Development Department. For more information on local Enterprise Zone incentives offered by Isle of Wight County, call Nicole Talton at 757-365-6251 or visit www.insidetheisle.com.