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Business Incentives

City of Holyoke Business Incentives List

Developers Toolkit: The pre-development phase is usually the first step in the process when housing developers are trying to secure land or buildings and need resources to pay for such items as environmental testing, soil testing, market research, zoning review, permitting review, option fees and legal fees for site control. This list of Local and State resources and programs are to support housing development here in the city of Holyoke. This document was made possible through MassHousing Neighborhood HUB ( funding and with the support of LDS Consulting Group, LLC. (

Download the “Funding Toolkit For Developers Updated 5.11.2023”

Liquor Licenses for New Restaurants: To facilitate the creation of new restaurants in downtown Holyoke, 13 new liquor licenses were created in August 2014. Designated specifically the four neighborhoods that comprise the Center City of Holyoke’s Urban Renewal Plan, the licenses are designed to provide new development and jobs while enhancing the vibrancy of the urban core. Licenses will only be used for restaurants. These licenses are available for a one time fee of $10,000, which will in turn be used to fund other economic development projects in downtown.

Industrial Development Loan Program: The Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (HEDIC) provides low interest financing to qualified industrial businesses.  To be eligible a firm must be a new or expanding industrial business; the capital loaned must be for fixed asset acquisition, construction and/or capital.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ): A foreign-trade zone is a designated site licensed by the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board at which special customs procedures may be used. These procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place prior to formal customs entry. Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are re-exported and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers located in the United States. Subzones are special-purpose zones, usually at manufacturing plants. A site which has been granted zone status may not be used for zone activity until the site has been separately approved for FTZ activation by local U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, and the zone activity remains under the supervision of CBP. FTZ sites and facilities remain within the jurisdiction of local, state or federal governments or agencies.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF): The City and the prospective Certified Project candidate agree to a property tax exemption based on a percentage of the value added through new construction or significant improvement for a period of no less than five and no more than twenty years. The benefit is provided based on the project’s need of the incentive in order to make the project happen, and its potential for new investment and job creation.

Special Tax Assessment (STA): Covers both the existing and new value of the real estate owned or leased by the prospective Certified Project candidate. In year one, the tax is zero percent of the existing and new assessed value of the real estate. In year two, up to 25% of the assessed value is taxed. In year three, up to 50% of the assessed value is taxed. In year four, up to 75% of the assessed value is taxed. In years five and following, up to 100% of the assessed value is taxed. The Special Tax Assessment is for a period of no less than five and no more than twenty years. The benefit is provided based on the project’s need of the incentive in order to make the project happen, and its potential for new investment and job creation.

Abandoned Building Tax Deduction: If the project involves the renovation and reuse of an abandoned building in which 75% of the space has been vacant for a period of 24 months, the project may be entitled to receive a one-time corporate tax deduction equal to 10% of the cost associated with the renovation of the abandoned building. Massachusetts law allows as a deduction an amount equal to 10% of the costs incurred in renovating qualifying abandoned buildings located in an Economic Opportunity Area (EOA). The buildings must be designated as abandoned by the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council. The renovation deduction may be taken in addition to any other deduction for which the renovation costs qualify. (For example, the depreciation deduction on improvements to property.) This deduction is available for personal income taxpayers (Schedule C or E) or for corporations whose tax liability is determined by net income.

Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP): The Center City Housing Incentive Program (CCHIP) was created and approved to take advantage of the Massachusetts Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) established by M.G.L. Ch.40V, to spur residential development, expand the diversity of housing stock in the Zone, support economic development and promote neighborhood stabilization.  Project Sponsors within the CCHIP Zone in the City of Holyoke would be eligible for a 10-year, 100% local tax exemption on increased valuation and additional state tax incentives when undertaking substantial rehabilitation of properties for lease or sale as multi-unit market rate housing.

Massachusetts Vacant Storefronts Program (MVSP): The purpose of the program is to help municipalities of the Commonwealth in their efforts to revitalize their downtowns and commercial areas.  Municipalities may apply to the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) for certification to designate a defined downtown or other commercial area, as a Certified Vacant Storefront District.  After achieving such a designation, and achieving a commitment of local matching funds, businesses or individuals may apply to the EACC for refundable EDIP tax credits for leasing and occupying a vacant storefront in that district.  This subsequent application is to become a Certified Vacant Storefronts Project. Holyoke is an approved district with the area along the canals and mills of the historic Paper City being approved.

Community Development Block Grant Program: The Office for Community Development (OCD) administers the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The CDBG funds may be used for a wide range of activities that improve housing, the living environment and economic opportunities, primarily for persons of low to moderate income.


HG&E’s Economic Development Discount: If you’re thinking of starting a new business, relocating to Holyoke, or expanding your existing business in Holyoke, HG&E’s Economic Development Discount should make your decision a little easier.  Qualifying, new commercial and industrial customers receive a 10% discount off of natural gas and electric bills for a period of three years (residential accounts do not qualify).

PACE FINANCING: The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is now available to finance the costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for commercial & industrial buildings, non-profits, and multi-family buildings (with 5 or more units). Long-term financing of up to 20 years is available, and the repayment term is based on the project’s projected energy cost savings. Through PACE, loans are tied to the property and collected through the property’s municipal tax bill. PACE is administered by the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment).

ALTERNATIVE PORTFOLIO STANDARD: Through the Massachusetts Alternative Portfolio Standard, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) provides the owners of qualifying alternative energy systems with Alternative Energy Certificates (AECs), which can be sold in to the market to receive a financial incentive. System types include qualifying air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar hot water systems, biomass heating systems, waste-to-energy systems, CHP, fuel cells and flywheel storage. The DOER encourages system owners to take advantage of Aggregators who can manage the qualification process through the DOER, as well as the marketing and sale of the system owner’s AECs.

Carbon-Free Electric Pilot Program: For commercial and industrial customers electing to purchase all of their electricity from 100% carbon-free sources, HG&E will procure the supplemental carbon-free electricity required by purchasing and retiring MA Class I or Class II Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). These costs will be passed along to the customer on-bill through a newly created rate component associated with their electricity usage. The pilot will start January 1, 2022 and end December 31, 2022 and will be re-evaluated to determine if it will continue to be offered in the future.

Commercial Energy Conservation Program: HG&E’s Commercial Energy Conservation Program provides businesses with the capital they need to make energy-saving improvements by providing assistance at 0% interest for the implementation of approved energy efficiency, electrification and renewable energy projects. Please see the project-specific requirements for a list of eligible projects. Multi-family Assistance: Multi-family assistance is capped at $20,000 ($5,000 limit per unit). Please note that if you are applying for assistance for a non-owner occupied multi-family property, you must be a Holyoke resident. Commercial Assistance: Commercial assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests greater than $10,000 require approval by HG&E’s Board of Commissioners. Assistance is repayable over 36 months for projects up to $2,000 and 60 months for projects $2,001 or more. These monthly payments are conveniently included on your utility bill. Please note that a one-time processing fee of $100 and other restrictions apply. Eligibility for this program includes having an HG&E account with 6-12 months of clear history and city taxes must be current.

MASSACHUSETTS GAP ENERGY GRANT: This program provides up to $200,000 in grant funding for qualifying energy efficiency, clean energy, and energy storage projects for eligible facilities including non-profit affordable housing, non-profit agricultural/food distribution, small business food distribution and processing facilities, and water/wastewater facilities.


State programs:

Research & Development Tax Credit: An entity that qualifies under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 63, § 38C or 42B as a research and development corporation or a manufacturing corporation is eligible to claim the sales tax exemptions in M.G.L. c. 64H, §§ 6(r), (s) on its purchases of materials, tools, fuel, machinery and replacement parts used directly and exclusively in research and development. In addition, such entities may be eligible for certain credits and other exemptions.

Brownfields Rolling Applications: Brownfields Redevelopment Fund – The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund finances the environmental assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in Economically Distressed Areas (EDAs) of the Commonwealth. In 2016, An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (St. 2016, Ch.219), championed by Governor Baker and enacted by the legislature, authorized $45 million over ten years from the Commonwealth’s capital budget for the fund. Eligible applicants may apply for up to $100,000 in site assessment funding, and/or up to $500,000 in remediation funding.

Cultural Facilities Fund: The Cultural Facilities Fund is an initiative to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state. The program is administered jointly with the Massachusetts Cultural Council for 501(c)(3) organizations engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences.  Three types of grants are available: capital grants, feasibility and technical assistance grants, systems replacement grants.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): Eligible multifamily rental projects can apply for an allocation of low-income housing tax credits, if over 50% of the total development costs are being financed with tax-exempt bonds issued through MassDevelopment. Availability of low-income housing tax credit equity varies with market conditions.

New Markets Tax Credit Program: The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program was created to stimulate investment in designated low-income communities. MassDevelopment assesses potential NMTC projects for both nonprofit and for-profit businesses.

The Workforce Training Fund (WTFP): The Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) provides grants to help Massachusetts employers address business productivity and competitiveness by providing resources to Massachusetts businesses to fund training for current and newly hired employees. The Workforce Training Fund’s major focus is small to medium-sized businesses that would not be able to make an investment in improving employee skills without the assistance of the Fund. Training funded by the Workforce Training Fund Program should address the following priorities:

    • Projects that will result in job retention, job growth, or increased wages.
    • Projects where training would make a difference in the company’s productivity, competitiveness, and ability to do business in Massachusetts.
    • Projects where the applicant has made a commitment to provide significant private investment in training for the duration of the grant, and after the grant has expired. 

Grants are awarded competitively to Massachusetts employers (or a consortium of employers) to train their current and newly hired full-time and part-time employees (i.e. incumbent workers).  Each month, more than $1 million in General Program Training Grants are expected to be awarded. Please carefully review the following program guidelines before applying.  Other restrictions may apply.

Property Tax Exemption: Massachusetts law provides that solar-energy systems and wind-energy systems used as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying the energy needs of taxable property are exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period. See MGL C.59 §5(45, 45A).



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