Governor Gina Raimondo today announced that five new real estate development projects are moving forward and Change Healthcare Operations is bringing hundreds of new jobs to Rhode Island thanks to the Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit Program and the Qualified Jobs Incentive Act. The projects were approved at yesterday's meeting of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board.
"From creating homes to helping local businesses expand, our economic development programs are a proven success. Our continued investment is making Rhode Island a better place to live, work, and start a business," said Governor Raimondo. "Today's new announced projects will create hundreds of jobs and over 290,000 square feet of new development across our state."
"From helping Rhode Island companies expand their operations to the development of new housing opportunities, our economic development tools are working," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "We thank both the Governor and the General Assembly for their leadership and support. Coupled with other initiatives, these important programs are enabling the state's economy to reach new heights."
Four of the Real Estate development projects approved today are participating in a new component of the Rebuild Rhode Island program which the General Assembly approved in the last session. The Commerce Corporation announced the availability of applications to be used for smaller manufacturers, smaller historic rehabilitation projects, and mixed-use development. These four projects will support: Mearthane Products Corporation of Cranston to acquire a company in Rhode Island and consolidate operations of two buildings totaling 41,000 SF in Woonsocket. The project is estimated at more than $4 million. To help fill a financing gap, Mearthane was approved credits of up to $815,000. Blount Fine Foods to install new production lines and manufacture more products and add an additional 20+ jobs by retrofitting the company's original 38,000 SF facility. The total project cost is estimated at $10.4 million. To help fill a financing gap, the company is approved up to $1,000,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits. A conversion of Providence's former Park View Nursing Home at 31 Parade Street into a residential apartment building containing 12 units is approved up to $1,000,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits to help fill a financing gap in the approximately $5 million project. Strive Lofts, a 56-unit project at 556 Atwells Avenue in Providence. The total cost of the 70k square foot project is approximately $10 million and has been approved for up to $750,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits.
"Having employed Rhode Islanders at our original waterfront plant there since 1946, Warren, RI has historic and strategic significance to not only Blount's past, but also our future," said Todd Blount, president and chief executive officer of Blount Fine Foods. "This incentive from Rhode Island Commerce on behalf of the people of Rhode Island gives us the ability to significantly invest in state-of-the-art processes and equipment at our founding site to keep us aligned with consumers' ever-changing desires and preferences."
"We are excited to begin renovations on the historic Asa Peck mill which will continue the revitalization of the Eagle Square neighborhood bringing additional needed housing to the market," said Richard Baccari II, President & CEO of Churchill & Banks Companies, LLC. "This building has been mostly vacant and abandoned for the past 30 years due to the challenges and costs of renovations. We expect to complete construction by spring of 2021 and thank the Governor and the RI Commerce corporation for their support in making this project feasible."
"We are delighted to be working with the Commerce Corporation to get the highly anticipated renovation of the historic Park View off the ground," said Mark Van Noppen, Manager of RCG Armory Park View, LLC. "The commitment of legislative leadership, Governor Raimondo, and the Commerce Corporation to historic, neighborhood-based investments makes this project possible. The much-loved Park View, located on the Parade Ground in the heart of the Armory District will add to the neighborhood's diversity of housing options by providing for dignified aging in place, enhancing the livability of the neighborhood and the City of Providence."
The Board also approved Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits to support a new ground up 150,000 square foot mixed use development in Pawtucket. The project will feature 150 residential units and 25,000 SF of retail space at 71 Dexter Street, proximate to the forthcoming train station. The total project cost is approximately $43.5M. The project has been approved for $2,000,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax credits and $1,000,000 in sales and use tax rebate.
"My team and I are very enthusiastic to develop a ground-¬up, high quality market-rate apartment building with desirous amenities, and retail options, the first of its kind in recent memory in the City of Pawtucket, that will both compliment the residences and energize the transit district," said Lee Peyser, Founder, Peyser Real Estate Group. "We thank Governor Raimondo, Secretary Pryor and Mayor Grebien and look forward to bringing our community revitalization expertise to the City of Pawtucket and serving as an integral participant in Pawtucket's renaissance."
In addition, the Commerce board approved incentives for Change Healthcare Options to expand into Rhode Island by locating nearly 300 new employees in Pawtucket. Twenty-seven of those new jobs have been approved for Qualified Jobs Tax Credits worth approximately $480,000 over 10 years. "Change Healthcare is investing in Rhode Island and its talent," said Kelley Blair, Senior Vice President & General Manager for Change Healthcare. "After working with Governor Raimondo and Secretary Pryor, we are not only committed to keeping our current workforce of 250 but also driving significant growth as we expand our center. With the support of the City of Pawtucket and the states leaders, we are eager to continue our mission to provide our partners the tools and services necessary to offer an improved patient experience that leads to better health outcomes."
Since its creation by Governor Raimondo and approval from the General Assembly in 2016, the Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit program has now helped catalyze 40 projects, totaling more than 5.4 million square feet of new development, and spurring more than $2.3 billion in private investment. These projects are adding more than 1,900 residential units to the state and helping to create nearly 12,000 construction jobs.
In total, over 35 companies have grown or relocated in Rhode Island thanks in part to the Qualified Jobs tax credit program. As a result, Rhode Island is projected to generate more than $118 million in state revenue over a 12-year period and an increased GDP of more than $500 million annually. As with all recipients of the Qualified Jobs tax credit, no funds are awarded until the hires are made and paying state taxes for one year.