EZC Board Unanimously Approves Enterprise Zone Tax Benefits for 3 Local Tech Companies

Before and after images of 4 Wimmelskafts Gade in Savanne, St. Thomas, USVI, for the business site of DM Hospitality LLC. (Submitted photos courtesy of VIEDA’s Enterprise Zone Commission)

An infusion of entrepreneurial activity in the Savanne-Downstreet enterprise zone is on the horizon as three tech companies are poised to help revitalize and lay the foundation for the creation of a Tech Yard on St. Thomas, USVI.

On April 13, the Virgin Islands Economic Development Agency’s (VIEDA) Enterprise Zone Commission (EZC) Governing Board (hereafter referred to as ‘The Board’) approved applications submitted to the EZC by BrandChamp Inc., Waterfront Development and Management LLC, and SL Technology and Consulting LLC and 3C Kronprindsens VAN LLC and 3C Kronprindsens MCC LLC to receive tax benefits to rehabilitate properties in Savanne as office spaces for their technology start-ups. The Board also approved a third company, DM Hospitality LLC, in February 2023, to receive tax exemptions to rehabilitate a building in Savanne to house its business headquarters.

All three companies combined will create 30 new jobs, invest a total of $425,000 to revitalize the enterprise zone of Savanne, and make in-kind and monetary charitable contributions of approximately $258,000.  An enterprise zone is a distressed area that has been designated by the governor of the USVI and which was once a vibrant center of economic activity in a location.

Savanne-Downstreet is one of four enterprise zones in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

These businesses applied for enterprise zone tax exemptions under the Savanne/Downstreet Community Plan Program, which calls for the creation of a Tech Yard that encourages collaboration between businesses engaged in technology, innovation and e-commerce. The vision of the Tech Yard is to transform the area into a thriving center of sustainable technology to improve the quality of life for residents in this community.

These tech companies join Waterfront 72 Kronprindsens Gade LLC, which was approved for EZC tax benefits in 2021, bringing the total number of businesses in the Tech Yard up to four. This is the territory’s first Tech Yard, and a similar tech hub is available in Frederiksted, St. Croix, where EZC tax benefits are available for eligible technology companies.

With the Board’s approval of enterprise zone tax exemptions:

BrandChamp Inc., and Waterfront Development and Management LLC, will rehabilitate the interior and exterior of a two-story building located at 80 Kronprindsens Gade in Savanne to operate a technology start-up. This start-up will provide software services solutions at the office space along with training rooms, a meeting/podcasting room, and co-working areas for clients, other start-ups, established brands and e-commerce companies in Savanne.

BrandChamp Inc. will invest $25,000 to renovate the building and will employ eight residents of the Virgin Islands. BrandChamp Inc. currently has employment opportunities through available positions of senior JavaScript engineer, social media manager, sales development representative, and a UX/UI designer and front-end developer.  The company will provide up to five non-profits in the neighborhood with access to its ambassador marketing software to assist them in fundraising efforts, marketing and building awareness online for up to five years.

SL Technology and Consulting LLC, 3C Kronprindsens VAN LLC and 3C Kronprindsens MCC LLC will invest $250,000 to rehabilitate the interior and exterior of a building located at 3C Kronprindsens Gade in Savanne to create office space for the company and provide technological, marketing and consulting support services for real estate brokerages. This company will employ 14 residents of the Virgin Islands.

This company will provide technology solutions to real estate-related companies in the Caribbean region to provide give clients a comprehensive understanding of their business. Services include advanced analytics, campaign design and artificial intelligence. This business also intends to donate annually to the Salvation Army.

DM Hospitality LLC will rehabilitate a building located at 4 Wimmelskafts Gade in Savanne, St. Thomas, to create business headquarters for its employees, and store and produce local foods. This company will develop two apps. One will be used by clients to order food that will be picked up at a specific time, and the other will be used by the local wholesale food industry.

This company has committed to investing $150,000 to rehab the exterior façade of the building to remove damaged gutters. Additionally, DM Hospitality LLC will employ eight residents of the Virgin Islands, which will be permanent full-time employees. DM Hospitality LLC also intends to provide opportunities for youth and donate to the Savanne/Downstreet community.

All business properties described above are within the Savanne-Downstreet Enterprise Zone and National Register District.

After a charrette and a community-wide vote on competing plan ideas, the Savanne/Downstreet Community Plan was completed and adopted by the Enterprise Zone Commission on March 10, 2016. The plan is based on the premise that by revitalizing the public spaces, economic growth and redevelopment will follow. The plan provides tax incentives for: (1) Learning Centers with cultural elements, (2) Producers and retailers of the Virgin Islands’ cultural products, (3) Innovation and Technology, (4) Start-up businesses involved in the environment, technology or V.I. culture.

The EZC, an entity of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority, assists residents and local, small-business owners with rehabilitating areas considered to be distressed neighborhoods that were once vibrant centers of economic activity. In addition to Savanne/Downstreet, the other areas designated as enterprise zones in the U.S. Virgin Islands are Garden Street/Upstreet on St. Thomas, and the towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted on St. Croix.

For more information, contact Nadine Marchena Kean, managing director of the Enterprise Zone Commission, at ezc@usvieda.org.

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