Generous incentives to reward investment

The City of Winchester, Virginia offers an extensive array of incentive programs to support growing businesses that strengthen the local economy and create jobs. Available programs include loans, grants, exemptions, and reimbursements, each created to support specific objectives. Some programs are available throughout the city, while others are limited to Winchester’s Enterprise Zone. For a detailed guide on the incentives available, please see our EZ Booklet. Please contact us to learn more about specific programs and eligibility requirements.

Click on the incentive programs below for more information.

Low-Interest-Rate Loan Programs

Commercial Façade Loan (Within Enterprise Zone)

Low-interest loans of up to $35,000 are available for businesses and property owners that wish to make exterior improvements such as signage, masonry repair, painting, awnings, window repair/decals, and landscape costs.

Micro-Loan (Within Enterprise Zone)

Loans at 7% for $1,000 to $10,000 are available to help new or existing businesses fund working capital, minor leasehold improvements, and small equipment and furniture needs.

Business Growth Revolving Loan (City-Wide)

Below-market gap financing for small-to-medium sized businesses that are unable to fully finance their proposed projects with equity and other public and private financing sources.

Real Estate Development Revolving Loan (City-Wide)

Below-market gap financing for small-to-medium sized mixed-use or non-residential real estate projects where vacant or underutilized property will be put to productive use and that cannot be fully financed with equity and other public and private financing sources. May be used for land costs that include acquisition and site preparation, building costs, soft costs associated with development, and bridge financing where other sources of capital are expected to flow into the project at a later date.

Grant Programs (Within the Enterprise Zone)

Professional Job Creation Grant

A one-time cash payment of $1,500 per position if the firm creates between one and two full-time eligible jobs over their base employment number, and $2,000 per position if the firm creates an additional one to five jobs (maximum award $25,000).

Exterior Improvement Grant

Provides funding (up to $10,000) for half the project cost for qualifying property owners who complete exterior improvements such as painting, awnings, and signage to commercial, industrial, or mixed-use buildings.

Real Property Investment Grant

Provides funding (up to $200,000 per facility) for up to 20% of the qualified real property investment in “hard costs” associated with a development project.

Entrepreneurship Grant

Provides funding (up to $1,000) for half the cost of website design and construction (paid to a city-based design provider), half the cost (up to $500) of website hosting or high-speed internet access, and a 200-basis point interest rate reduction on a Winchester Enterprise Zone Micro-Loan.

Commercial/Industrial/Mixed-Use Property Rehabilitation Grant

Provides a one-time cash grant (up to $15,000 depending upon assessed value) for commercial or mixed-use property that has been substantially rehabilitated by at least 40%.

Business Development Grant for Vacant Properties

Provides a grant equaling 25%-100% (depending upon square footage) of new City business tax revenues generated, paid annually in arrears for five years.

New or Expanding Technology-Driven Business Grant

Provides a series of grants, in arrears, equal to 50% of net new taxes paid to the City over a 5-year period for high-tech firms making a capital investment of at least $1 million.

Job Creation Grant

Up to $800 per grant-eligible position, depending upon wages and the number of months positions were filled during the Grant Year.

Tax-Exemption/Fee Reimbursement Programs (Within the Enterprise Zone)

Major Economic Development Project

A grant equal to the present value of 100% of net new taxes paid by a company over three years, paid annually in arrears or as an upfront incentive secured by a forgivable deed of trust, requiring a capital investment of at least $2.5 million and the creation of at least 25 new jobs paying at least the City’s median income.

Major Mixed-Use Development Incentive

Provides part or complete public infrastructure financing (based upon limits) for a mixed–use development with private investment of at least $5 million.

Substantially Rehabilitated Enterprise Zone Property Tax Incentive

Provides a tax exemption for a period of ten years for improvements of at least 40% to substantially rehabilitated real estate within the Enterprise Zone

Exemption from Land Development Fees

Expedited development and building permit review. Refund of building permit fees, zoning application fees and subdivision plat for both non-residential and residential projects.