Arlington County Board Adopts Changes to Tech Zones

  • Eligibility extended to smaller companies
  • More incentives for tech companies to start, grow in Arlington
  • Improving Arlington's business development competitiveness

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today approved amendments to broaden the Technology Zone incentive program for new technology companies looking to start and expand in Arlington's defined Technology Zones.

The County Board's action updates the Technology Zones first adopted into the County Code in 2001 and last updated seven years ago, to:

  • Simplify the definitions of “qualified technology business”
  • Eliminate the current 100-employee threshold in the Downtown Technology Zones for new technology businesses
  • Offer Technology Zone incentives to expanding technology businesses
  • Standardize tiers of eligibility standards and Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) rates in all Technology Zones.

“These updates reflect the reality of a quickly-changing tech world,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “In January, I said that we would lay the groundwork this year for Arlington to become a hub of the innovation economy. This update to our Tech Zones is a big step in the right direction. These carefully targeted enhanced incentives will make Arlington an even more attractive community for some of the most innovative businesses in the world to get started and grow.”

The County Board voted 5-0 to adopt the Technology Zone updates.

Tax breaks expected to generate additional revenues

Arlington Economic Development (AED) estimates that the updated incentives would amount to a five-year benefit from about $39,000 for a 20-employee company to $155,000 for an 80-employee company – an average savings of $2.25 per square foot, if applied to annual rent for companies that qualify.

Five to 10 companies per year are expected to qualify for the incentives. AED estimates that while the County would forego an estimated $9,000 a year in BPOL taxes it otherwise would have collected from a company with 20 employees that qualifies for the incentives, that same company would provide an estimated $36,400 in net new revenue to the County's General Fund.

Arlington has designated the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, the Jefferson Davis corridor, the Shirlington area and Columbia Pike as Technology Zones.

Broadening the definition of tech companies

The changes target fast-growing tech companies with the highest growth potential, and encourage them to stay in Arlington by allowing companies located here to become eligible for the program as they expand.

“Arlington now will be better able to compete with jurisdictions across our region and our nation that are offering incentives to attract the companies that will define our economic future,” said Cindy Richmond, Acting Director of Arlington Economic Development. With these changes, Arlington is sending a strong signal that we are creating the conditions for fast-growth tech sector companies to start here and stay here.”

For more information, visit the County website. Choose the April 12 Arlington County Board Regular Meeting, and scroll down to Item #34 on the Agenda.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.