Industries Economic Development

Virginia Beach reduces tax rate for data center equipment

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The city of Virginia Beach has reduced the tax rate for data-center equipment, joining Henrico County in a bid to attract data centers with tax incentives.

The beach city’s new rate drops the tax on computers and peripherals used in data centers from $4 to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value, a reduction of more than 88 percent.
In April, Henrico dropped its business property tax rate on computers and related equipment for data centers from $3.50 to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The lower tax rate in Virginia Beach is one of several new initiatives the city is taking to welcome data centers.

“This tax rate is highly desirable and puts us in a very strong competitive field to attract data centers,” Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris, said in a statement.  “We want data center operators to know we have the resources in place to support their global customer base.”

Currently, the city doesn’t have any data centers. But it’s about to get new undersea cables, the first in the mid-Atlantic region. MAREA, the transatlantic cable by Facebook, Microsoft and Telxius -- a subsidiary of Telefónica -- has arrived and will be live in the first quarter of 2018 with the first ultra-high-speed data cable from Bilbao, Spain.

BRUSA, also owned by Telxius, will bring the second cable from Fortaleza and Rio, Brazil, to Virginia Beach in the third quarter of 2018. Each cable has a designed bandwidth of 160 terabits per second, which the city describes as the fastest cables in the world.

Additionally, Corporate Landing Business Park has been certified as a data-center site by Dominion Energy. Corporate Landing is a 325-acre, Class A, mixed-use park with ultra-high-speed commercial and residential network infrastructure in place, fiber access hubs, a cable landing station and several planned data centers.

The location has been approved for a streamlined permitting process that offers stable business costs, competitive power rates and flexible business assistance programs. Dominion Energy currently has eight other certified data-center sites, and Virginia Beach is the first and only location in southeastern Virginia. Corporate Landing also has been designated as a Technology Zone with additional incentives established by the Virginia General Assembly.

Other tax incentives offered by Virginia Beach include: no inventory tax, no tax on business equipment for manufacturers, and no tax on machinery and tools equipment.

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