(Updated 3:32 p.m.)
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Commerce Corp. approved up to $9.1 million in incentives for job growth and real estate development on Monday. Commerce RI also announced its selection of three vendors that will execute the state’s upcoming tourism campaign, entering into agreements with NAIL Communications, the RDW Group and NJF, an MMGY Global company.
Commerce RI approved up to $3.1 million in Qualified Jobs Incentive tax credits for United Natural Foods Inc. in an effort to create transactional service jobs in the state. The natural and organic food distributing company hopes to add 150 jobs in Providence by 2020.
Additionally, Commerce Corp. approved about $4.1 million in incentives for the hotel-booking firm Agoda Travel Opportunities under the Rebuild Rhode Island tax credit program and Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit program. The company hopes to bring 200 jobs to Providence and to develop the Agoda Customer Experience Center, proposed for 500 Exchange St. in Providence.
The $3 million in job-creation tax credits require the jobs created to remain in Rhode Island for 12 years. In a release the state noted that the value of the tax credits are covered by personal income taxes, which would not be collected without the company creating the jobs in the Ocean State.
The $1.02 million in Rebuild Rhode Island credits are to be paid out after the project is complete and has earned a certificate of occupancy, and the company meets its job commitments for the Qualified Jobs Incentive credits. Additionally, the company is eligible for a sales tax exemption of approximately $117,800.
SAT Development LLC was approved for $995,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits, which it will apply toward the development of 24 residential units and more than 4,783 square feet of commercial space at 473 Thames St. in Bristol. The project is estimated to cost approximately $9.4 million and is also eligible for a sales tax exemption of up to $166,270 for construction materials as well as $600,000 in a tax increment financing incentive program.
In other news, Commerce also voted to authorize agreements with NAIL Communications, the RDW Group, and NJF, who will be responsible for the state’s tourism campaigns, including content creation, advertising, media buying and public relations. They will serve under the leadership of Lara Salamano, the state’s chief marketing officer.
On March 1, each agency will enter into separate 12-month agreements with Commerce RI, with the funding as follows:
- RDW Group: $1.7 million
- NAIL Communications: $978,000
- NJF: $473,000
Havas PR, the state’s current agency of record for Commerce RI, has been allotted $691,000 to continue its efforts in attracting news business to the state through public relations. Also contracted to help with business attraction campaigns is NAIL, which will be paid $454,000 for its part of the work.
“As a Rhode Island native, this is especially exciting,” Salamando said of the selection of the three marketing agencies, two of which – RDW and NAIL – are based in Providence. “The agencies selected represent a tremendous amount of local knowledge, creativity, resourcefulness and most importantly, industry experience. Competition for tourism dollars and business development opportunities is strong, and these partners will help us showcase the many elements that make our state such a special place to live, visit and work.”
Commerce RI received 36 responses to its RFP issued in November. Nine contractors (three based in Rhode Island) were selected to present their plans and credentials to representatives from the corporation, regional tourism bureaus and business leaders.