Technology Zone: Expand and bring in business to Ashland

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – Ashland leaders wanted to make the town more competitive and desirable in today's market through technology based businesses like "Sonic Tools". Extensive research proved that technology zones had been successful elsewhere including in Caroline and Spotsylvania County.

Sonic Tools is a company that makes high precision cutting tools for a number of industries, including automotive companies and gun manufacturers. The president of Sonic Tools, Scott Staylor is excited about possible tax incentives that could save his businesses hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

"We are doing everything we can to survive. Money got tight, business got slow, and then the end of the year rolls around and you are stuck, you are getting hammered with taxes, and it's just money that's gone," said Staylor.

Up for grabs, a 100 percent rebate on things like real estate and machinery taxes for the first 3 years; 50 percent for years four and five. To qualify, the business must be technology based.

"Biomedical, biotech, defense, e-commerce, software, computers, anything along those genres will be acceptable," said Town Manager Charles Hartgrove.

New businesses must make a capital investment of a half million dollars and create five new jobs. For existing businesses, it's $100,000 and 2 new jobs. The technology zone includes three corridors, Hill Carter Parkway, Dow Gil Road and Route One South. Technology businesses already exist in this area and there are plenty of either move-in ready buildings or vacant lots that could draw companies in. Town leaders say these new opportunities are a good thing for everyone as tech companies consider making Ashland home.

"They'll be staying at our hotels, eating at our restaurants, shopping at our local businesses, so it's a positive all the way around," said Hartgrove.

As a safeguard, qualifying businesses will be required to stay in town for at least five years in order to keep the tax rebates.

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