Governor Expanding Development Opportunities for Small Businesses

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. pitches the virtues of the U.S, Virgin Islands to investors, developers and Realtors attending the NAI Miami Florida and Caribbean Forum on November 15.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. is expanding opportunities for small businesses in the territory by signing an order expanding Enterprise Zones on St. Thomas and traveling to Miami to present at the NAI Miami 6th Annual Florida and Caribbean Forum to tell investors, developers and realtors about Qualified Opportunity Zone Investment in the U.S.V.I.

The governor’s executive order expands the enterprise zones in the Savan-Downstreet neighborhood and in the Garden Street-Upstreet neighborhood.

Enterprise zones are determined by the level of poverty in a census tract or census block, and if an area is determined to be an enterprise zone, it then qualifies for Enterprise Zone Program benefits and increases access to Community Development Block Grant as well as the New Markets Tax Credits programs.

In his executive order, Bryan said it was necessary for him to expand the enterprise zones in the Savan and Garden Street neighborhoods because of an increase in residential activity in those areas, which indicates an increase of individuals living below the poverty line.

The governor’s executive order lays out in specific detail the exact boundaries of the expanded enterprise zones for Savan-Downstreet and Garden Street-Upstreet.

The mandates of the executive order became effective on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.

Accompanying him on the trip to the NAI Miami Forum on Nov. 15 were David Bornn, chief legal counsel; Kamal Latham, V.I. Economic Development Authority executive director; Peter Chapman, RTPark executive director; and other representatives of the territory.

During the Forum, Bryan, Bornn, Latham and Chapman conducted a panel discussion sponsored by the Duane Morris Law Firm to highlight the variety of commercial real estate opportunities and the benefits of investing in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Chief Legal Counsel David Bornn, left, answers a question during a panel discussion sponsored by the Duane Morris Law Firm and featuring Economic Development Authority Executive Director Kamal Latham, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and RT Park Executive Director Peter Chapman.

During his presentation, the governor discussed a variety of “stackable benefits” that can be used in the U.S. Virgin Islands in addition to those arising from the capital gains tax deferment of the federal Qualified Opportunity Zone program, which is the hottest federal investment program in the U.S. in a long time. It seeks to utilize unrealized capital gains taxes for investment in economically depressed areas of the country.

The stackable benefits the Governor discussed include:
The Economic Development Program
The Enterprise Zone Program
The Hotel Development Act
Tax Increment Financing
Historic Tax Credits
The New Markets Tax Credit Program
RTPark Benefits for tech and knowledge-based investments

“The presentation and panel discussion were very well-received. It generated significant… interest among the attendees about the possibilities of investing in our territory,” Gov. Bryan said. “We’re looking forward to following up on lead-generation with some of the participants about their interest in working with the government and local parties to fulfill investment options in the U.S.V.I.”

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