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Savanne-Downstreet enterprise zone expanded for zone residents, business owners on St. Thomas

   
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
 – March 15, 2022 – The enterprise zone of Savanne-Downstreet on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, has recently been expanded to increase access for the residents of Downstreet to enterprise zone programs. In response to the Enterprise Zone Commission’s recommendation to expand the Savanne-Downstreet enterprise zone, USVI Governor Albert Bryan, Jr., signed an Executive Order No. 517-2021 to expand this enterprise zone. 

This expansion provides residents with opportunities to apply for Enterprise Zone Program benefits for Downstreet properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands. An enterprise zone is a distressed area in the U.S. Virgin Islands that was once a socially and economically vibrant community.   Governor Bryan signed this executive order in December 2021. Other enterprise zones in the U.S. Virgin Islands include Frederiksted and Christiansted on St. Croix and Garden Street-UpStreet on St. Thomas, USVI. 

“The expansion of this enterprise zone is far-reaching. It allows not only for more residents in the Savanne-Downstreet areas to apply for assistance in rehabilitating their residential properties, it is also an increased opportunity for businesses as well,” said Wayne L. Biggs, Jr., chief executive officer, VIEDA.  “With this expansion, a hotel and two guest houses that have experienced financial hardships are now included within this enterprise zone’s boundaries. This expansion opens the door for them to apply for assistance. Economic development can only thrive when you have community development at the forefront,” added VIEDA CEO Biggs, Jr.

Enterprise zone businesses, by U.S. Virgin Islands law, may qualify for the following nonrenewable tax benefits for a period of five (5) years for eligible activities based on the town plan adopted by the Enterprise Zone Commission for the respective Enterprise Zone:  90 percent reduction in income taxes, 100 exemption in property taxes and a 100 percent exemption from gross receipts taxes.  

An owner-occupied residence or a business may qualify for benefits of the EZC tax credit program which includes:

  • A nonrefundable gross receipts or income tax credit equal to 25% of the actual value expended within the fiscal year for construction or rehabilitation of building within the zone.
  • A nonrefundable gross receipts or income tax credit equal to 10% of the expenditures within a fiscal year for investment in machinery and equipment for the beneficiary business.
  • A gross receipt tax rate of 3% for gross receipts derived from the EZ business.
  • A one-time nonrefundable $500 income tax credit for every full-time permanent job created with the for USVI residents.
  • A property tax credit against taxes imposed equal to the increase in property taxes assessed due to renovation, rehabilitation or construction property within the zones.

The Enterprise Zone Commission, an entity of the VIEDA, assists residents and local small-business owners with rehabilitating buildings that are located within designated enterprise zones in the Territory. EZC Managing Director Nadine T. Marchena Kean highlights a potential new addition to this enterprise zone.

“This expansion would include the potential site of the Agro and Food Technology Center. As the EZC team and I continue to engage federal partners, these are the types of projects that will have a significant impact on the uplifting of these areas and for the benefit of the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Nadine T. Marchena Kean, EZC managing director.

The EZC programs are largely supported by grant funding, and the EZC continues to apply for funds to meet its mandate.

For more information about the Enterprise Zone Commission and its programs, visit www.usvieda.org, or send an email to info@usvieda.org .

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