September 1, 2023
Unfortunately, the Greenbrier Valley and West Virginia are not immune to the housing crisis and rising costs of housing. Our large, and growing tourism economy has provided a lucrative market for short-term rentals such as Air BNBs, taking long term rentals and ownership options off the table. Housing starts are down (nationally by 40% from pre-Great Recession levels and 10% below pre-pandemic levels). And housing costs are up 40% since the pandemic. The issue is not just a local one, but local options are needed.
Last month, Pocahontas County became the 8th Certified Designation for BUILD WV, the state’s incentive to jumpstart housing projects. This program provides tax exemptions and credits to make building residential units more economically feasible for developers. And we hope will result in more available (and affordable) places to live for the workforce. This program is just one piece of a giant housing puzzle that needs more solutions.
The Greenbrier EDC is working with WVU on a workforce housing analysis to further demonstrate need for funding in this area, and we’re looking for developers and nonprofits who are in the housing space to find long-term solutions to housing affordability and availability. Expect more resources and news in this realm in the coming months.
For now, we celebrate small wins – such as the BUILD WV designation received for part of our region. Read on for more about this program:
POCAHONTAS COUNTY RECEIVES BUILD WV DESIGNATION
Application submitted by CVB and GVEDC is approved for WV’s 8th designation location
August 18, 2023
Incentives created to encourage development of housing are now available in Pocahontas County after this week’s designation as a certified BUILD WV district by the West Virginia Departments of Commerce, Tourism, and Economic Development.
The application for designation was submitted jointly by the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC) and the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (PCCVB), in conjunction with efforts of the Pocahontas County Housing Task Force, formed in March of 2022.
Qualifying projects within the district are eligible to receive a sales and use tax exemption for building materials as well as a 10-year property value adjustment refundable tax credit to offset building costs. BUILD WV Act was passed by Legislature in 2022 and expanded in 2023.
“This designation is a key tool to incentivize investment into housing solutions for our county’s current employers and residents and will support all efforts to grow the economy and replenish our population,” says Cara Rose former PCCVB Executive Director who worked on this application just before retiring.
The district was established with Clover Lick as the center point and includes areas within a 20-mile radius. This point was chosen to encompass as much of Pocahontas County as possible, particularly to include areas where there is developer interest. Letters of support for the project were provided by both the CVB and the EDC as well as the Pocahontas County Commission, Inter-State Hardwoods, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Greenbank Observatory, Safe Homes, Fort Warwick, Homeownership Center, and First Tracts Realty.
Ruthana Beezley, Executive Director of the GVEDC, added “We understand that housing is an issue in the region – for residents who want to move here and for employers who want to recruit employees. We are continuing to work on solutions, but feel this designation is an important piece of the puzzle.”
According to the Build WV Code (WV §5B-2L-16), projects eligible for the BUILD WV Act will be located in a certified district: include at least six residential units or houses OR generate approved costs in excess of $3,000,000: create a significant and positive economic impact on the state; improve opportunities for commercial businesses and provide additional employment opportunities.
Interested housing developers are encouraged to contact Ruthana Beezley at GVEDC. at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information on applying. There is an application fee of $5,000, and the State and GVEDC are working to make sure applications are viable before submitting.
The Greenbrier Valley EDC is also working with interested parties in Greenbrier and Monroe County to submit further district designations.