BIGGER ENTERPRISE ZONE OK'D STATE ADDS NEARLY 1,000 ACRES TO TAX-BREAK SITE.
LANCASTER - The Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone has grown by nearly 1,000 acres with the approval of an expansion of Lancaster's portion of the zone.
The California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency approved Lancaster's request to expand the enterprise zone from 10,515 acres to 11,490 acres.
The addition includes land zoned for retail, commercial and industrial businesses, officials said.
``This makes the economic benefits of doing business in the zone available to even more Lancaster businesses,'' said Lancaster Mayor Frank Roberts.
The new territory is in scattered parcels, mostly in central Lancaster. The property includes land along Avenues I, J, K and L, and on 10th, 20th and 30th Streets West.
Created Feb. 1, 1997, for land in both Palmdale and Lancaster, the zone is intended to attract new jobs and help existing companies lower their expenses.
Businesses that have opened in Lancaster's portion of the zone include the Countrywide Home Loan processing center, the Michaels and Rite-Aid distribution warehouses and Starwood Hotel's reservation center.
Counting the Palmdale territory, the zone covers more than 61 square miles, including almost all of the region's industrial and commercial areas.
The zone is effective until 2012.
Businesses in the zone are eligible for state tax breaks, including credits on equipment purchases, interest deductions for income earned on investments, and wage credits for workers hired through certain programs or from certain low-income areas.
Businesses in the enterprise zone can claim tax credits for employees who were hired through the federal Job Partnership Training Act and the Greater Avenues for Independence program.
Businesses also can claim the tax credits for hiring employees who live in one of nine ``targeted employment areas'' in Lancaster and the eastern Antelope Valley.
The areas are where at least 51 percent of the residents earn a low or moderate income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A map of the expansion area can be found on the Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone Web site, www.avez.org. Lancaster businesses that want more information on the zone or want to learn if they are located inside it can call Lancaster Enterprise Zone Manager Cheryl Rose at (661) 723-6128.