In a move one commercial realtor called “one of the most powerful things to happen in Monroe County economic development history,” George Cornelius, acting secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced in late June that approximately 340 acres of industrial property in Monroe County had been approved and designated as part of a new Keystone Opportunity and Expansion Zone.
The approved properties include 127.95 acres of county-owned land in Pocono Mountains Corporate Centers East and South and 212.51 acres at New Ventures Commercial Park in Blakeslee.
The KOZ program allows for the waiver, abatement, or exemption of certain state and local taxes, including real estate, earned income, corporate net income, and sales and use taxes, among others.
“We’re better off today because of the unified support we received from the Pocono Mountain School District, under the leadership of Henry Bockelman and Dr. Dwight Pfennig; our county commissioners; municipal officials in Tobyhanna and Coolbaugh Townships,” says Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Chuck Leonard.
Officials from each of those taxing entities had to approve the tax incentives before the properties could be submitted for DCED approval.
“Along with the tax incentives provided by the KOZ program, that unity goes a long way toward supporting the ‘business friendly’ brand we’re trying to promote, he adds.”
Local commercial property expert Michael Baxter says the approved sites “improve the county’s ability to compete with other counties and industrial sites across the state”
“KOZ availability is the single most important criteria for companies looking to relocate to our area and create new jobs that we sorely need. Along with our superior location and quality of life, it will give us a big advantage over our competition”