Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board of Directors met on Monday evening and approved the use of new economic development tools, spurring new construction and boosting job growth in Rhode Island. The projects moving forward are aided by a Qualified Jobs Tax Credit agreement and two Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits. The Board also approved a slate of providers to administer the Small Business Assistance Program.
"These programs are working to create high-skill, high-wage jobs in Rhode Island and get new development going," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "We are recruiting a new company to our state, paving the way for new construction projects, and strengthening our existing small businesses. We're sending a clear signal that Rhode Island is on the move."
"I am pleased that the tools and incentives that the General Assembly approved as part of the budget are bearing fruit and making a difference for our economy," said Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello. "The Commerce Corporation continues to work extremely hard to bring businesses to our state and to expand existing companies, and I support these efforts."
"Today's action by the Commerce Corporation will help to jumpstart construction projects and create jobs for Rhode Islanders. Working together, with strong leadership in the Governor's office and at the Commerce Corporation, we are focused on putting Rhode Island on the path to economic prosperity," said President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed.
"These projects show that our economic development tools are working," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "Companies like Trade Area Systems are relocating to Rhode Island. Developers are moving forward with projects that will help our cities create vibrant, 24/7, live/work environments. The momentum from these investments is helping to fuel Rhode Island's comeback."
Trade Area Systems is a retail real-estate market intelligence company that is relocating to Providence from Attleboro, Massachusetts. The company provides advanced site location services for major retailers and property developers in the United States. All 20 positions at the company will relocate to Providence, and the company intends to add 8 new, highly-skilled employees. Trade Area Systems entered into a Qualified Jobs agreement with the Commerce Corporation for a five-year period, totaling an estimated $520,000. The company has cited the increasing vibrancy of Providence and the economic development tools put to work this year as reasons for moving their company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island.
"We've concluded that we will struggle to attract top talent if we stay in a suburban office location. Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, and Boston were all urban and very popular with top tech talent. But Providence made more sense for us, because of our current nearby location in Attleboro, and its reputation as America's 'coolest city' according to GQ," said Joe Rando, Chief Executive Officer of Trade Area Systems. "We reached out to the Commerce Corporation which engaged us immediately and told us about the new Qualified Jobs Tax Credit program. Governor Raimondo's new economic development tools made relocation to Providence economically feasible for Trade Area Systems. We are very excited about this opportunity."
The Board also approved two Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits for two Providence residential developments to accommodate the city's growing Downtown population. Case Mead Associates is planning 44 units of rental micro-lofts with existing ground floor retail on Dorrance Street. The Commerce Corporation approved $2.2 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits over a five-year period. The credit represents just under 30% of the project cost to renovate the historic property. Waldorf Capital Management is proposing 56 micro-lofts with a new, ground floor restaurant in a historic building on Chestnut Street in the Jewelry District. The Commerce Corporation approved $1.3 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits over the five-year eligibility period. The tax credits represent less than 10% of the project costs for the development.
Additionally, the Board granted authority for the Commerce Corporation to award $5.5 million from the Small Business Assistance Program to provide new financing sources to viable small businesses challenged by limited access to capital.