Expanding on a Month of Positive News, Lexington Lighting Group to move from MA to RI; Granite Telecommunications to expand In-State; Lippitt Mill to be revitalized
Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced that the Board of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation approved the use of economic development tools to continue to grow jobs in Rhode Island and strengthen local communities. These tools made it possible to secure the relocation of Lexington Lighting Group LLC from Massachusetts to East Providence and to facilitate the expansion of Granite Telecommunications LLC, in a larger facility in Lincoln. These two projects are expected to bring more than 70 new jobs to Rhode Island. Additionally, the Board authorized tax credits supporting the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Lippitt Mill, a historic mill in West Warwick, into a residential project that includes affordable housing units.
Earlier this month the state also announced that its new economic development tools will bring two major global companies to the state—GE Digital and Finlays—and with them 170 new jobs.
"In one month alone, new and growing companies have announced plans to bring over 200 good-paying jobs to Rhode Island—our state is back in the game," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "We are attracting new companies to our state, and we are retaining local companies who are choosing to grow and invest in Rhode Island. We have momentum, and we are going to stay relentless in our efforts to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have opportunities for jobs that pay."
"Just in the course of this month, we have helped position four exciting and innovative companies to bring jobs to our state," said R.I. Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "In addition, the redevelopment of Lippitt Mill symbolizes how the history of Rhode Island can converge with its future in a meaningful way. The projects approved in our August meetings confirm that we're making progress and generating economic energy."
Approximately $220,000 in incentives under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit Program will facilitate the relocation of Lexington Lighting Group from Taunton, Massachusetts, to Rhode Island. The company, which consists of two divisions, Vantage Lighting and Wilshire Manufacturing, uses state-of-the-art technology to create light-emitting diode efficient (LED) lighting. Its 23,000-square-foot facility in East Providence will be staffed by 20 existing full-time employees, and the company has plans to add four full-time employees.
Companies expanding their workforce in Rhode Island or relocating jobs from out of state can receive annual, redeemable tax credits for up to 10 years with the Qualified Jobs Incentive program.
"The wealth of new tax credits and incentives that we're offering have rapidly remade Rhode Island into a competitive place to do business," said Darin Early, president of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. "We now have the lowest corporate tax rate in New England, and across industries, companies can receive tax credits for bringing new jobs to the state. We've encouraged investment in high-growth, high-wage industries in particular by offering special incentives to those companies in innovation, manufacturing, research and development, defense, and medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing."
The Board of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation also approved approximately $780,000 in tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit Program to support the expansion of Granite Telecommunications' existing regional headquarters in Lincoln. A leading communications services provider to multiple businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada, Granite Telecommunications will add 50 new full-time jobs, requiring 23,000 additional square feet of office space at its current location. The new positions, primarily sales and operational functions, will be filled by 2019.
Finally, the Board also approved $2,103,501 in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits to Lippitt Mill LLC for the $15.2 million redevelopment of a historic mill in West Warwick, one of the oldest in the state of Rhode Island and one of the few timber-frame mill buildings still standing. Additionally, the Board approved a sales and use tax exemption on construction materials, preliminarily estimated at approximately $230,691.
If a real estate project cannot raise sufficient funding, or is at risk of locating in another state, Rebuild Rhode Island can fill the financing gap with redeemable tax credits covering up to 20 percent—and, in some cases, 30 percent—of a project's costs.
The Lippitt Mill project will create high-quality affordable housing, help revitalize the surrounding West Warwick neighborhood, return a dilapidated historic mill to productive use, and remediate existing environmental contamination on the site. The 62,375-square-foot project, which includes the wooden mill building and various other interconnected buildings, will create 65 residential units, of which 28 (43 percent) will be deed restricted as affordable housing for families earning 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) or less. Construction is expected to begin by the end of calendar year 2016 and is anticipated to take about a year to complete.
Following the approval of the General Assembly in the 2015 legislative session, the Commerce Corporation launched 11 new economic development programs and tools to help create jobs and move our economy forward. The Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit is helping to create 490 good-paying jobs. Also, with about $41 million in real estate-related economic incentives committed, the Commerce Corporation is helping to leverage almost $400 million in investment.