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Rhode Island Economic Development Tools Lure Company from CT to Westerly

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board of Directors tonight approved economic incentives to lure a company from Connecticut to Westerly, support the rehabilitation of an old mill into a mixed use development, and support the construction of a new hotel in downtown Providence. The projects moving forward are aided by Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits, a tax increment financing arrangement, and tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit Program.

"Companies are choosing to relocate and grow in Rhode Island because our state is a great place to live, work, and do business," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "With today's announcements, we continue to send a clear signal that Rhode Island is on the move."

"Today's action by the Commerce Corporation will help jumpstart construction projects and create jobs for Rhode Islanders," said President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed. "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."

"The projects announced today demonstrate that our economic development tools are continuing to bring new jobs and new investment to our state," said R.I. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "Rhode Island is a vibrant place to do business and companies ranging from social enterprises to national hotel chains are taking notice."

Ivory Ella, a socially-minded online retailer, will relocate 40 of its current jobs, 19 of which qualify under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit program, to Westerly from Connecticut. The company has committed to expanding by at least 20 new jobs over the next three years, 11 of which will qualify under the program. This will bring a cumulative total of 60 jobs, 30 of which qualify under the program, by the end of 2018. The Board approved approximately $362,055 in tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit Program for Ivory Ella.

"Ivory Ella considered a number of factors in selecting a new home for our operations," said Ivory Ella CEO and Founder Ryan Duranso. "We evaluated nearly 40 locations in numerous communities, focusing the search on the region around our existing locations in Connecticut. We've selected an excellent facility in Westerly, formerly housing The Paragon that offered room to expand, a supportive building owner and a very welcoming community. Incentives and programs, including the Qualified Jobs Incentive Credit, the Rhode Island Governor's Workforce Board and Westerly Real Jobs all were important factors in our decision. The Ocean Cities Chamber, Town of Westerly, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and RI DLT all gave us confidence that we were making the best long-term choice for the business. We appreciate the support and guidance as we move to grow and continue to make 'Good Clothes for a Good Cause.'"

The Board also approved $3 million in its first Tax Increment Financing agreement to Homewood Suites Hotel --Exchange Street LLC. The agreement will support the construction of a 120-room hotel with ground floor retail in downtown Providence. An "Extended Stay" hotel will provide rooms geared towards business travelers staying more than two nights as well as shuttle service to the T.F. Green International airport. The total project cost is estimated at approximately $24.5 million.

Tax Increment Financing provides capital for eligible projects by rebating the new state tax revenue generated by the project. An eligible project must demonstrate need through a "financing gap." The tax revenue rebate may not exceed 30% of total project costs (exemption for public infrastructure/utilities) or 75% of incremental revenue generated for projects such as these.

Finally, the Board also approved approximately $3.6 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits to be issued over five years for Pontiac Mills. These tax credits will support the adaptive reuse of a vacant historic mill complex along the Pawtuxet River in Warwick into approximately 200,000 square feet of mixed-use development. The total development cost is estimated at $34.6 million.

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