A Summary of Connecticut's Enterprise Zone Program

Overview

First in the nation to offer a statewide program of benefits to help targeted investment communities, Connecticut has greatly expanded the number of State-approved municipalities that may offer the various enterprise zone benefitsfrom the original 6 cities and towns in 1982, to over 45 participating municipalities in 2021.

There are 10 types of zone designations in Statutes that authorize the State and approved municipalities to offer various incentives, with goals to encourage new economic development, lower the cost of doing business in Connecticut, increase private investment, expand the local tax base, re-use underused properties, grow important industry clusters, and expand job opportunities for zone residents. 

Please note that the information below is only intended to provide a summary overview of the program; please refer to the State Statutes for authorizing information and Statutory requirements.

Types of Zones

Targeted Investment Communities (those with an approved Enterprise Zone) may also designate these areas which may qualify for Enterprise Zone-level benefits: Created through the Urban Jobs Program:

Key Incentives of Traditional Enterprise Zones

Companies involved in manufacturing, research, associated with manufacturing and distribution warehousing (new construction/expansion only), as well as certain service companies, that develop properties in an Enterprise Zone or a zone that is eligible for Enterprise Zone-level benefits could receive:
  • a five-year 80% abatement of local property taxes on qualifying real estate and personal property (machinery and equipment)the investment must be new to the municipality’s Grand List as a direct result of a business expansion and/or renovation, and 
  • other benefits as allowed by the Connecticut General Statutes.
Eligibility for Businesses These programs are designed to encourage capital improvements to land and/or buildings. Businesses applying for benefits under this program must be prepared to either:
  • renovate an existing facility by investing at least 50% of the facility’s prior assessed value in the renovation; OR
  • construct a new facility or expand an existing facility; OR
  • acquire a facility that has been idle for a stated minimum timeframe (sliding scale dependent on average number of employees for previous six months):
    • (if 19+ employees) at least one year 
    • (if 6-19 employees) at least six months
    • (if 5 or fewer employees) no idleness requirement applies

If the applicant is leasing this qualifying facility, the lease must be for at least five years with the option at that point to either renew the lease for an aggregate term of not fewer than 10 years or buy the facility. If the business averages fewer than 10 employees, those requirements may be reduced to aggregate leases of fewer than six years or the option to purchase after three years.

Some zones might specify a range of North American Industrial Classification System (NAIC) codes, priority industry clusters, and/or pre-approved non-manufacturing and service business operations such as those listed in Addendum A; please refer to the Related Resources section.

 

Eligibility for Municipalities

The State Statutes define the requirements for each of the various zones.  Some Enterprise Zone designations might consist of a primary or secondary census block, or several contiguous tracts within a municipality, and/or other requirements.

To be eligible to establish an Enterprise Zone associated within a targeted investment communities (TICs), as well as for the public investment communities of the Enterprise Corridor Zones, certain criteria must be present to be deemed by the State as "distressed municipalities" which may include:
  • high unemployment,
  • high levels of poverty,
  • aging housing stock,
  • low or declining rates of growth in job creation,
  • low or declining rates of growth in population, and
  • low or declining rates of growth in per capita income.
Here is an example of some thresholds:
Criteria Primary Census Tracts  Secondary Census Tracts 
Poverty Rate At least 25% At least 15%
Unemployment Rate  2x the state average At least 1.5x the state average
Population on Public Assistance At least 25% At least 15%

Statutory References

There are numerous Statutes that relate to this program. The Statutes include, but are not limited to, Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 32-70 et seq.

Please see the list of Statutory references in the Laws/Regulations section.

How to Apply

For businesses seeking tax incentives and other benefits: Across all cities and towns that are approved by the DECD to participate in the Enterprise Zone program:


Step One
  1. Before starting any project, the business must first submit a formal request through the local economic development office of the municipality in order to obtain a Preliminary Questionnaire.
  2. If pre-qualified, the business would receive from the DECD a formal application and an invitation to apply.
Step Two
  1. The business submits a complete application with required documentation to the DECD prior to October 1 of the year in which the project will be completed.
  2. If approved, DECD would issue a Certificate of Eligibility.

For cities and town seeking to be approved for one of the Enterprise Zone program designations: The municipalities should first obtain local approvals to ensure the zone meets municipal and regional requirements, and then the municipality would submit a formal proposal to the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development for review and approval.

Contact

  • Start by contacting a city or town of interest to ask whether there are any available properties. To view the designated municipal Enterprise Zone coordinators across Connecticut, please refer to the Contact section.
  • To contact the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Enterprise Zone program staff, please leave a clear message either via email or telephone, Someone would get back to you at the earliest opportunity, and someone would respond at the next earliest opportunity. Please use the dedicated Enterprise Zone Program email box DECDenterprisezone@ct.govOR the dedicated Enterprise Zone Program telephone voicemail box: (860) 500-2456.
  • For press and media inquiries, please contact the DECD's Director of Communications: Jim Watson, Tel.: (860) 500-2482, email jim.watson@ct.gov .