Cabins at Pine Haven

Doing Business

Southern West Virginia's Retail, Industrial and Tourism Hub

In a region known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and friendly people, the case for expanding, locating, or developing a business in the New River Gorge is a strong one. This guide showcases several of the attributes that ensure a great quality of life here and contained within the Doing Business section found here, there is a list of development assistance available and various other relevant factors about our region that make it a desirable place to do business.

In Southern West Virginia's commerce hub, businesses are always full. More than 225,000 shoppers (with an effective buying income of $800,300,000) comprise a market which grows by the day.

Thanks to superb highways and centralized location, shoppers regularly come to the area from all around the region. National chains continue opening large stores here. Local merchants offer specialized goods and services.

Thinking of doing business here? You'll find plenty of features to like. Besides enjoying a scenic environment and the lowest crime rate in the nation, you'll find a host of compatible local industries in which to invest. What suits your fancy?


Proximity to Major Markets
The New River Gorge region is within a nine-hour drive to more than half the U.S. population and more than one third of the Canadian market.

Public Schools
The West Virginia Department of Education teaches students "21st Century Learning Skills" related to information and communication; thinking and problem solving; and personal and workplace productivity.
In the U.S. News Best High Schools 2013 rankings, seven West Virginia schools earned silver medals and 20 received bronze medals. The New River Gorge region is home to four of those bronze medal recipients.

Tax Climate
West Virginia has been working hard to improve the tax climate for business. As of July 1, 2013, the 1 percent sales tax on edible items sold in the state (food tax) was eliminated.  In addition, the Corporate Net Income Tax Rate is scheduled to fall to 6.5 percent in 2014, and the Business Franchise Tax will see a phased reduction and is scheduled to be eliminated in 2015.



Tourism

T
hanks largely to the creation of the New River Gorge National River and completion of Interstate 64, the region has rapidly developed tourist traffic. Tourism brings millions of dollars in direct sales to Raleigh County and the surrounding nine-county market each year.

W
ith increased activity of outdoor adventurers in whitewater rafting, ATV riding, mountain biking and fishing in the summer, skiing and hunting in the winter, the tourism industry has become a vital factor in our economy.

When the $16 million arts center, Tamarack “The Best of West Virginia”, opened on Interstate 77/79 in Beckley the area saw an increase in shoppers to the region looking for treasurers made locally from very talented West Virginia artisans and craftsmen.

We are lucky to also have Winterplace Ski Resort, Theatre West Virginia, Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia, Daniel Vineyards, The Resort at Glade Springs and Crossroads Mall to enhance our tourism attractiveness.


Transportation


Many companies have located headquarters and distribution centers here as a result of accessibility. In the center of the Eastern U.S., Raleigh County stands at an interstate crossroads. Interstates 64 and 77 join at Beckley with U.S. Route 19. The Coalfields Expressway is under construction and will link us to South Western West Virginia rural counties and South West Virginia. Coastal and Midwest markets are less than a day away.

A
ir transportation and cargo service are provided by Raleigh County Memorial Airport, five minutes west of Beckley. Passenger air and rail services are provided by U.S. Airways and Amtrak, respectively. Rail service is provided by CSX and Norfolk & Western.


Wood Products


Raleigh County lies at the center of a heavily forested area. In fact, the largest unbroken forest in the East stretches from Beckley west into Kentucky. Oak and hickory account for about 70 percent of the local wood; maple, beech, and birch, about 15 percent; pine 9 percent. Georgia Pacific officials say interstates and available workers and timber moved them to open a mill and strand board plant north of Beckley.


Coal


Thanks to its deposits of low-sulphur coal, southern West Virginia will continue to lead the nation in coal production. Raleigh County's purest seams cap its rugged western mountains.


Workforce

Southern West Virginia's labor force is renowned for its high productivity and strong work ethic. In addition, Raleigh County has been designated a labor surplus county by the U.S. Department of Labor. Industry training programs are administered through the WV Department of Education. Programs to assist private employers are available through the WorkForce WV Centers across the state.


Education

Numerous diverse educational opportunities are available in the area.

Preschool & Day Care - A spectrum of programs is available for children three months to six years old

Public Education - Public schools are governed by a five-member board and managed by a superintendent. Good schools are well located throughout the county.

Private Education – Area private primary schools offer specialized education through High School.

Area Colleges and Universities include:

Appalachian Bible College
Bluefield State College
Community & Technical College at Institute of Technology WVU

Concord University
Erma Byrd Higher Education Center

New River Community & Technical College

Southern WV Community & Technical College

U.S. Mine Health & Safety Academy

Valley College

Institute of Technology West Virginia University

WV School of Osteopathic Medicine

University of Charleston, Beckley


INDUSTRIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL PARKS
Are you a business that desires high interstate access and seamless fiberoptic and cellular technology? Do you have the luxury of relocating to the center of the eastern U.S.? Would you prefer a wooded or highly accessible location? Then you’ll prefer our business and technology parks.


Pinecrest Business & Technology Park - Catering to clean technologies, this park with a pastoral feel sits off the junction of U.S. 19 and Interstate 64 east of Beckley.
 

Raleigh County Airport Industrial Park & Research Center

Off Interstate 64 at the Raleigh County Airport, this beautiful wooded park contains a fishing pond for children and disabled persons and is home to many deer. Fly-in and air-cargo service are available through several carriers.

East Side Industrial Park—214 acres of developed land.  Diversified business community supporting engineering, electronics, coal and timber industries.  Also, includes light manufacturing and several service industries.

West Side Industrial Park— Adjacent to the airport, more than 300 acres with building sites ready for construction.  Utilities and access roads in place. Recent tenants include a Dermatology Center, Child Development Center, FedEx, and Hydraulics Company.  Runway access.


Harper Industrial Park - Off Interstate 77's exit 44, this park is convenient to the area's hotel and restaurant district.

New River Industrial Park - Off U.S. 19 in North Beckley the main road through this park leads into the county's shopping centers and its area of highest traffic - the intersection of Robert C. Byrd Drive(WV 16) and Eisenhower Drive(U.S. 19).

Southern West Virginia Industrial Park
Located off Interstate 64 at Exit 125B, this is Raleigh County’s newest industrial park. Under construction and nestled among the trees, the park envelopes 143 acres of property.



Retiree Attraction

Beckley-Raleigh County has recently received the certification of “Designated Retirement Community” (DRC) from the West Virginia Development Office which allows us to call ourselves “Mountain Roads Retirement Community, Almost Heaven” and to receive requests for visitor and relocation information from retirees looking for a destination to call their retirement home. Due to this designation the community has seen an increase in retirees checking out what we have to offer and then making plans to move and relocate to their new home in the mountains bringing with them a boost to the local economy.


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Direct Loan Programs
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority can provide up to 45 percent in financing fixed assets by providing low-interest, direct loans to expanding state businesses and firms locating in West Virginia.  Loan term is generally 15 years for real estate intensive projects and five to 10 years for equipment projects. Loan proceeds may be used for the acquisition of land, buildings and equipment. Working capital loans and the refinancing of existing debt are not eligible.

Indirect Loans

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority provides a loan insurance program through participating commercial banks to assist firms that cannot obtain conventional bank financing. This program insures up to 80 percent of a bank loan for a maximum loan term of four years. Loan proceeds may be used for any business purpose except the refinancing of existing debt.

Industrial Revenue Bonds
This program provides for customized financing through federal tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds. Of the state’s bond allocation, $59,757,600 is reserved for small manufacturing projects; $17,073,600 for qualifying projects in Enterprise Communities, and $93,904,800 for exempt facility projects.

West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council
The fund can be used for financial assistance to public utilities, county development authorities and private companies for infrastructure improvements to support economic development projects.

Linked Deposit Loan Program
The program allows small, for-profit state employers with 50 or fewer employees and gross annual receipts of $5 million or less to apply for a linked deposit loan with an interest rate of 1 percent above published New York Prime, up to $250,000.

Venture Capital — West Virginia Capital Company Act
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority administers a program that provides for debt and equity venture capital investment to small business.  A number of firms are qualified in West Virginia to make venture capital investments and their contact information may be found at www.wveda.org.  West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust (JIT) is a public venture capital fund created to develop, promote and expand West Virginia’s economy.  The program makes investment funds available to eligible businesses, thus stimulating economic growth and providing or retaining jobs within the state.


WORKFORCE

Southern West Virginia’s labor force is productive, affordable, and skilled.  By offering several development programs, WorkForce West Virginia and our Community & Technical College system will assure your recruiting and training needs are met.

WorkKeys® Career Readiness Certificates
The nationally-recognized Work Keys® Career Readiness Certificates from WorkForce West Virginia aid in the process of matching qualified job seekers with jobs while assuring businesses that the State of West Virginia has a ready and skilled work force.

Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Program
This flexible, customized training program under the West Virginia Development Office, offers assistance to eligible companies and businesses by providing funding that directly supports the transfer of knowledge and skills.  Companies must create a minimum of 10 net new jobs within a 12-month period.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program

This customized training program is available to employers that hire individuals that meet specific program requirements. The program targets job seekers that are either economically disadvantaged or displaced due to job shifting in the region.  Contact Angie Henson at 304-253-3611 for assistance with the three programs listed above.

West Virginia Advance Program
This flexible program offers customized job training awards to new and existing businesses.  The program offers development and delivery of training services that will support a company’s startup and ongoing employee development initiatives through a local Community and Technical College.  Contact Renee Harvey at 304-558-0265 to learn more about this program.


BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

Corporate Headquarters Credit
Companies that relocate their corporate headquarters to West Virginia are eligible for tax credits if 15 new jobs (including relocated employees) are created within the first year. The credit can offset up to 100 percent of the tax liability for business and occupation tax, corporate net income tax, and personal income tax on certain pass through income, for a period of up to 13 years.

Economic Opportunity Credit
For qualified companies that create at least 20 new jobs within specified time limits (10 jobs in the case of qualified small business) as a result of their business expansion project, the State’s Economic Opportunity Tax Credit can offset up to 80 percent of specified business taxes for a period of up to 13 years. If a qualified company that creates the requisite number of jobs pays an annual median wage higher than the statewide average non-farm payroll wage, then the qualified company can offset up to 100 percent of the specified taxes for up to 13 years.

For qualified businesses creating less than 20 new jobs within specified time limits, or for a qualified small business creating less than 10 new jobs, a $3,000 credit is allowed per new full time job for five years, providing the new job pays at least $32,000 per year and the employee has employer provided health insurance benefits.  The $32,000 figure is adjusted annually for cost-of-living.

“Five-For-Ten” Program
The program provides a special valuation for manufacturing property to businesses that make qualified capital improvements of at least $50 million to an existing base of $100 million or more, or in the case of natural gas liquid extraction, to qualified improvements of at least $10 million to an existing base of $20 million. It values the new capital addition at a salvage value of 5 percent for the first 10 years.  Calculation: ((5% x Cost of the Property) x 60%) x Rate = Tax.

“Five For Ten” Program -- Fractionating Plants and Secondary Plants
Special property tax valuation applies for 10 years to real property (excluding the value of unimproved land) and personal property of facilities that are or will be classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) with the six digit code number 211112 (natural gas liquid extraction “fractionating” plants) and to manufacturing facilities that use products produced at a facility with a 211112 NAICS code. The special property tax valuation applies to qualified capital additions of more than $10 million made to pre-existing manufacturing facilities that have a value in place before the capital addition of more than $20 million.  The special property tax valuation is 5 percent of the cost of the qualified property instead of fair market value.  In the absence of a pre-existing manufacturing facility owned or operated by the person making the capital addition, multiple party projects may be established to meet the $20 million pre-existing investment requirement.

“Five For Twenty-five” Program - - $2 Billion Primary (Fractionating) Plants, Secondary Plants And Tertiary Plants
Special property tax valuation applies for a period of 25 years to real property (excluding the value of unimproved land) and personal property having a combined original cost of which exceeds $2 billion to be constructed, located or installed at a facility, or a combination of facilities by a single entity or combination of entities engaged in a unitary business that:  Is or will be classified under the North American Industry Classification System with a six digit code number 211112 (a primary facility), and; To manufacturing facilities that use one or more products produced at a facility with code number 211112 (secondary facilities) and; To manufacturing facilities that use products produced at a secondary facility.  The special property tax valuation is 5 percent of the cost of the qualified property instead of fair market value.

Manufacturing Investment Credit
A tax credit is allowed against up to 60 percent of corporate net income tax and business franchise tax based on qualified investment in eligible manufacturing property, with no new job creation required.

Manufacturing Inventory Credit
Offsets the business franchise tax and corporate net income tax in the amount of property tax paid on raw materials, goods in process and finished goods manufacturing inventory.

Strategic R&D Credit
The Strategic Research and Development Tax Credit can offset up to 100 percent of corporate net income tax and business franchise tax, based on qualified expenditures for R&D projects.

Commercial Patent Incentives Credit

The Commercial Patent Incentives Tax Credit can offset up to 100 percent of the business franchise tax, corporation net income tax, or in the case of individual taxpayers, the personal income tax. The credit is based on a percentage of royalties, license fees and other consideration for developers of a patent or a percentage of net profit attributable to a patent used in a manufacturing process or product.

West Virginia Film Industry Investment Act
Up to 31 percent of direct production and post-production expenditures can be converted to transferable tax credits to offset state taxes. Also, purchases and rentals of tangible personal property and purchases of services (excluding gasoline or special fuel, food or beverages) directly used in the activity of  manufacturing a motion picture, TV program, music video, or commercial are exempt from the consumers sales and service tax and use tax.

High-Tech Manufacturing Credit
Businesses that manufacture certain computers and peripheral equipment, electronic components or semi-conductors and which create at least 20 new jobs within one year after placement of qualified investment into service, can receive a tax credit to offset 100 percent of the business and occupation tax, business franchise tax, corporate net income tax, and personal income tax on certain pass through income for 20 consecutive years.

Aircraft Valuation
Aircraft owned or leased by commercial airlines, charter carriers, private carriers and private companies are valued for property tax purposes at the lower of fair market salvage value or 5 percent of the original cost of the property.

High-Technology Business Property Valuation Act
Tangible personal property, including servers, directly used in a high-technology business or in an internet advertising business is valued for property tax purposes at 5 percent of the original cost of the property. In addition, sales tax is eliminated from all purchases of prewritten computer software, computers, computer hardware, servers, building materials and tangible personal property, for direct use in a high-technology business or internet advertising business.

Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption
Purchases of materials and equipment purchased for direct use in manufacturing are exempt from the 6 percent state sales and use tax, including building materials and process equipment purchased for construction of a manufacturing facility.

The Freeport Amendment
The Freeport Amendment exempts property from the West Virginia ad valorem property tax in two ways:

1) Manufactured products produced in West Virginia and stored in the state for a short time before moving into interstate commerce are exempt from property tax.

2) Goods transported into West Virginia from outside of the state, which are held for a short time in a warehouse and then shipped to a destination outside of West Virginia, are exempt from the property tax.

The exemption does not apply to inventories of raw materials or goods in process.

Special Rates of Electric Power for Industrial Consumers

The West Virginia Public Service Commission may establish special rates that in its judgment are necessary or appropriate for the continued, new or expanded operation of energy-intensive industrial consumers. In order to qualify for a special rate, an industrial facility, plant or enterprise is required to: enter into negotiations with the utility; have a contract demand of at least fifty thousand kilowatts of electric power at its West Virginia facilities under normal operating conditions; create or retain at least twenty-five full time jobs in the state; have invested not less than $500,000 in fixed assets in the state; and provide reasonable evidence that without the special rate, the operation is threatened or not economically viable.

Research and Development Sales Tax Exemption
Purchases of tangible personal property and services directly used in research and development are exempt from the consumers’ sales tax.

Sales Tax Exemption for Certain E-Commerce Businesses

Some computer-related sales of tangible personal property and services are exempt from the consumer sales and services tax.

Sales Tax Exemption for Certain Warehouse and Distribution Centers
Purchases of certain tangible personal property in qualified warehouse and distribution centers may be exempt from the consumers’ sales and service tax.

Tax Increment Financing

Allows increases in property tax based on the improvement associated with qualified economic development and public improvement projects to assist with their long-term financing.

The Tourism Matching Advertising Partnership Program
In order to extend advertising resources for the promotion of tourism through partnerships, this program provides reimbursable matching funds for direct advertising. Business applicants and their partners must provide a minimum of 60 percent of the total cost for programs at the $10,000 + level. For programs not exceeding $7,500, business applicants must provide 25 percent of the total cost.  

Lodging Exemptions
For lodging stays in excess of 30 consecutive days per person at the same facility, there is an exemption from the state Consumers Sales and Service Tax (6 percent) and exemption from the Local Hotel/Motel Tax (tax rate varies per region).


Traffic Counts


This website link has all of the WV county maps with average daily traffic for the state and includes all of the interstate counts as well:  WV Traffic Counts

Traffic Count information provided by:
Traffic Modeling & Analysis Unit, Planning Division
West Virginia Division of Highways
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charlestion, West Virginia  25305
Phone: (304) 558-9620 / Fax No. (304) 558-3783


For more Economic Development information contact:  New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) 304-254-8115.