Designated Downtown Incentives and Opportunity Zone

Designated Downtown Incentives

The downtown designation program supports local revitalization efforts across the state by providing technical assistance and state funding to help designated municipalities build strong communities. Once designated, the community will be eligible for the following benefits:

  • 10% Historic Tax Credits
    • Available as an add-on to approved Federal Historic Tax Credit projects
    • Eligible costs include interior and exterior improvements, code compliance, plumbing and electrical upgrades
  • 25% Historic Tax Credits (Eligible facade work up to $25,000)
  • 50% Code Improvement Tax Credits
    • Available for up to $50,000 each for elevators and sprinkler systems and $12,000 for lifts
    • Eligible code work includes ADA modifications, electrical, or plumbing up to $25,000
  • 50% Technology Tax Credits
    • Available for up to $30,000 for installation or improvements made to data and network installations, and HVAC (heating, cooling or ventilation systems) reasonably related to data or network improvements.
    • Eligible to receive loans, loan guarantees, or grants up to $100,000 for capital transportation and related capital improvement projects.
    • Grants may not exceed 50% of a project’s cost. Priority consideration for various ACCD, VTrans and ANR grants and incentives including, ACCD’s Municipal Planning Grants, State Historic Preservation grants, Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) grants, VTrans Bike/Ped and Transportation Alternatives grants, Northern Border Regional Commission Grants, ANR Water and Wastewater subsidies and loans, and various other state grants and resources.
    • Authority to post speed limits of less than 25 mph to help calm traffic and make the downtown a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
    • May erect and post informational signs to help guide visitors to downtown and to significant historical, educational, recreational or cultural landmarks.
    • Priority site consideration by the State Building and General Services (BGS) when leasing or constructing buildings.
    • May create a special assessment district (also known as business improvement district) to raise funds for both operating costs and capital expenses to support specific projects in the designated downtown.
    • No permit fees and special downtown process with reduced criteria
    • Qualified mixed use-housing projects are exempt from review.
    • Communities may also designate Neighborhood Development Areas within 1/2 mile from the designated downtown. Qualified projects are: Exempt from Act 250 regulations for Priority Housing Projects and projects not qualifying for the exemption receive a 50% discount on application fees.
    • Exemption from the land gains tax for housing units sold.
    • Eligible for reduced state permit fees.

For more information, visit the State of Vermont Downtown Designation website. 

Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones connect investors with low-income communities by creating a new national network of deal opportunities in much the same way that we systematically invest in foreign emerging markets now.

The program offers a frictionless way to reinvest capital gains into distressed communities through Opportunity Funds, in exchange for a graduated series of incentives tied to long-term holdings.

The Opportunity Zones program offers investors three incentives for putting their capital to work rebuilding economically distressed communities:

  1. A temporary deferral: An investor can defer capital gains taxes until 2026 by putting and keeping unrealized gains in an Opportunity Fund.
  2. A reduction: The original amount of capital gains on which an investor has to pay deferred taxes is reduced by 10% if the Opportunity Fund investment is held for 5 years and another 5% if held for 7 years.
  3. An exemption: Any capital gains on investments made through the Opportunity Fund accrue tax-free as long as the investor holds them for at least 10 years.

The entire City of Winooski has been designated as an Opportunity Zone. Whether you are a developer in need of additional capital, or an investor seeking a specific type of project, we at the City of   Winooski are happy to assist you in finding the right fit.

Why Invest in Winooski?

Winooski provides a development-friendly environment. Our staff operates with a “get to yes” attitude. We see ourselves as partners in making projects work. The City has adopted Form Based Code in our gateway zoning areas to offer predictability for development. Our administrative permitting process under the Form Based Code allows us to expedite municipal permitting. A project can be permitted in as little as 30 days. All of this adds up to big savings in time and money for developers.

Winooski offers a variety of incentives. Downtown Winooski is a Vermont Designated Downtown, which makes downtown development eligible for incentives such as: sales tax reallocation, state historic tax credits, code improvement tax credits, technology tax credits, Act 250 exemptions or expedited review, and priority consideration for state grant programs. The City is an active partner in seeking funding opportunities to support development.

Winooski invests in its future. From the establishment of our successful TIF district resulting in the award winning redevelopment of our downtown, to the recently passed bond vote to revitalize our Main Street, Winooski has demonstrated a willingness to invest in the infrastructure for our future. We invite you to invest with us.