Council approves tech benefits

Published 6:37 pm Friday, November 6, 2009

Suffolk City Council approved on Wednesday, with little discussion, a proposal to offer benefits to technology companies located within specified zones.

Technology zones can be established in Virginia to help attract businesses that deal primarily in technology — such as computer systems design, scientific research, software publishers, telecommunications, computer and electronics manufacturing and more.

The technology zone now covers two large swaths of land, one in the North Suffolk area and one covering the greater downtown area. To qualify, an existing business would have to increase its building space by at least 2,500 square feet or 10 percent of the previous space, whichever is greater. New businesses would have to occupy a previously vacant space or construct a new space of 2,500 square feet or more. Either a new or existing business must have a minimum of five employees, and not be a home-based business.


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Qualifying businesses will receive a rebate of half the business license tax for the entire Suffolk operation, not to exceed $30,000, for the year of the location or expansion. Half the personal property tax also will be refunded, up to $20,000, in the first year.

“We just think this is a good tool to have in our toolbox,” acting Economic Development director Kevin Hughes said.

Charles Parr, the council liaison to the Economic Development Authority, provided the only discussion on the issue following a public hearing where no speakers came forward.

“The EDA worked on this for months, paring it down,” Parr said.

The move passed unanimously.