Lynchburg: Among Forbes Best Places for Business
Lynchburg is among Forbes’ Top 100 Best Places for Business and Careers because Lynchburg has everything businesses need to prosper. When your business is ready to invest in Lynchburg and our workforce, we are ready to support your business through targeted investments that provide immediate returns and long-term benefits for Lynchburg citizens. Below is a sample of incentives and credits available to eligible firms relocating to or expanding in Lynchburg. All incentives are subject to modification, the availability of funds, and review and approval by the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority. For more information, please contact the Office of Economic Development at 434-455-4490.
The City of Lynchburg boasts two Enterprise Zones providing investment incentives covering 4,200 acres of commercial property. In our Enterprise Zones, state and local incentives combine to support existing business expansion and new business relocation. Incentives include cash grants for real estate investments and job creation, along with local benefits for qualifying investments. Details and documents are below.
Real Property Investment Grant
- Qualified real property investments in a commercial, industrial, or mixed-use building or facility within the boundaries of a designated Virginia Enterprise Zone (requires at least 30% commercial space)
- 20% cash grant for real property rehabilitation investments above a $100,000 threshold
- 20% cash grant for new construction investments above a $500,000 threshold
- Grant capped at $100,000 for investments less than $5 million
- Grant capped at $200,000 for investments of $5 million or more.
Job Creation Grants
- Cash grant up to $800 per job per year for five years
- Requires creation of five jobs or more
- Requires wages equal to or above 175% of the Federal minimum wage with benefits
- Personal service, retail, food and beverage positions are not eligible
- Grant will be based on the wages paid for those grant eligible positions.
Incentive value (may be cash, infrastructure improvements or other support as determined by the EDA) for eligible capital investments. All taxes generated by capital investment (business personal property, machinery & tools, real estate improvement, etc.) must generate a positive return on investment over a 36-month period, subject to verification and the terms of a performance agreement. Maximum incentive equivalent to 2 percent of capital investment up to $10MM, 1 percent of capital investment over $10MM, with a cap of $350,000.
Grants (in the form of cash, infrastructure improvements or other support as determined by the EDA) to support large-scale employment expansion. Grant value may be up to the value of a 2% increase in annual payroll of FTE positions with health benefits if base employment is increased by more than one-third or thirty net-new positions, whichever is greater. Requires annual payroll audit and a performance agreement.
Designed to support small- and medium-scale investments in commercial property within the city’s Enterprise Zones, the Local Redevelopment Program supports a portion of qualified expenditures. Property requires at least 20% commercial use. Proper permitting is required to qualify, and submitted project costs are verified by building permit. Applications must be completed within 30 days of beginning work. For more information and application forms, please contact the Office of Economic Development at 434-455-4491 or email Melissa.Dismond@lynchburgva.gov.
Up to five years of real estate tax exemption on the improved value of rehabilitation and renovation. For commercial and industrial real estate, the existing structure must be 25-years-old and the improvements must increase the assessed value by 60% or more. For more details, see the attached flyer, or contact the City Assessor at (434) 455-3830.
The Lynchburg Economic Development Authority owns and manages two industrial parks. For major qualifying investments, the EDA may offer sale or lease of property at attractive rates, build-to-lease or build-to-own arrangements, site preparation, infrastructure improvements and/or other development assistance.
The Lynchburg EDA and Economic Development Office offer business and development financing ranging from local capital up to $250,000 from a revolving loan fund to tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds. We can also connect your business to microloans and other small-business financing and assist in applications for SBIR and STTR.
Arts & Cultural businesses locating within the city’s James River Arts & Cultural District are eligible for reimbursement of certain business license taxes, along with regulatory flexibility as applicable and approved. Contact our office at (434) 455-4490 for more information about locating your business in the Arts District.
The Office of Economic Development also manages the Arts District grant fund for nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals wishing to do arts-related projects in the District. Click below for additional information and resources.
The Lynchburg Business Development Center provides business assistance services to entrepreneurs, new business owners and existing small business owners. The LBDC can assist with business and marketing plan development as well as financing. For more information, contact the LBDC at lbdc.com or 434-582-6100.
Designed to offset the competitive wages that larger cities can offer teachers, the HIPE housing incentive was developed by the Lynchburg EDA in 2014. This unique program helps ensure that Lynchburg recruits, and retains, the best and brightest math and science teachers for our students. These two subject areas have been identified in the Virginia Department of Education’s 2013-14 list of “Critical Shortage Teaching Endorsement Areas”, and have been deemed a particular need area by Lynchburg City Schools.
How HIPE works:
Math and science teachers for grades 6 through 12, who commit to a three-year teaching agreement with Lynchburg City Schools, each receive up to $8,000 in housing stipends. The program provides a $5,000 housing stipend for the first year, and $2,000 and $1,000 respectively for the next two years. The money can be used for rent, lease payments or mortgage payments. Teachers must live within the city of Lynchburg to qualify and will receive their payments at the end of every semester.
In September 2015, City Council established the entire City as a Tourism Zone in order to promote the continued development and success of tourism-base businesses in the City of Lynchburg. Tourism projects in the City may be eligible for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Tourism Development Financing Program, a gap financing program managed by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Resources Authority. Contact Anna Bentson at email@example.com for more information.