Enterprise Zone (VEZ)

The Virginia Enterprise Zone is a state and local partnership and one of the most effective methods of using incentives to stimulate economic development. Portsmouth boasts two of these highly coveted zones.

Portsmouth’s Zone #1 was designated in 2010, modified in 2012, and is centered on the commercial areas of Downtown, Midtown, Victory and the MAST Center as well as the Elmhurst Industrial Corridor, Greenwood Industrial Park, portions of Airline Boulevard and the Virginia Avenue Corridor. Zone #2 took effect January 1, 2014 and focuses on the City’s industrial waterfront areas of West Norfolk, Pinners Point, and the Paradise Creek/Elm Avenue Industrial Corridor along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.

​​While both Zones offer identical state incentives each Zone’s local incentives are tailored to its specific land use and development strategy


Real Property Investment Grant - Zones #1 and #2

  • Cash grants equal up to 20% of the amount of qualified investment in excess of the threshold.
  • The qualifying investment threshold for new construction equals $500,000; the rehabilitation expansion threshold is $100,000.
  • The maximum benefit per building or facility within any five-year period is $100,000 for projects less than $5 million and $200,000 for projects of $5 million or more.
  • Mixed-use projects must have at least 30% of floor are in commercial, industrial, or office use in order to qualify.
  • Grants are payable to t he owner and/or tenant incurring the costs.
  • The application deadline is April 1st of the year following completion of the work.

For more information visit http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov


Job Creation Grant - Zone #1 and #2

  • Cash grants equal to $800 per year for five years for new positions earning $200% of the federal minimum wage and offering health benefits; $500 for those earning 175-199% of the federal minimum wage and offering health benefits.*
  • The first four positions created are not eligible for grants.  Grants are paid o a maximum of 350 positions per year.
  • Retail, food and beverage, personal service firms, and non-profits are not eligible.
  • Firms may qualify for additional five-year periods with further job creation.
  • The application deadline is April 1st.

* The Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour.  To be eligible net new positions must be paid $14.50/hour for the $800 grant and $12.69/hour for the $500 grant.  

For more information visit http://dhcd.virghinia.gov