Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) is a program that designates an area for special tax benefits: residential properties receive a 10 year abatement on state taxes, while businesses receive a 10 year abatement and will pay no corporate income taxes, for the same period, if they reside in the area..
The designation is geared to encouraging people and businesses to relocate to areas that are underused or experiencing economic blight. The area or its representative submits an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED); after the parcel is approved, the benefit will start in January of 2014 and run until 2023.
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. (LVEDC) submitted a regional applications on behalf of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, including local governments and school districts.
One of the sites approved include Easton's Silk Mill, which is a mixed use project that is already underway for redevelopment. The Governor Wolf Building and the Black Diamond Silk Mill are another two sites in Easton that received an official KOEZ designation. Also the only site submitted from Lehigh County, the old Allentown Metal Works property was approved, and would be a great site for manufacturing according to the city's Development Authority.
Using the LVEDC was especially beneficial in the process because all of the 18 sites that applied through the group were approved, with 17 of these being in Northampton County, and most in Easton