Commerce RI approves $12.5M for new building, business incentives

A new, 13-story apartment building over a parking lot at 169 Canal St. downtown has received approval for state incentives from the R.I. Commerce Corp./ COURTESY DBVW ARCHITECTS
A new, 13-story apartment building over a parking lot at 169 Canal St. downtown has received approval for state incentives from the R.I. Commerce Corp./ COURTESY DBVW ARCHITECTS

PROVIDENCE — The state agency charged with attracting new business to Rhode Island agreed to award about $12.5 million in public incentives to three corporations Monday, including a pledge to provide tax credits to help a global marketing company locate 125 sales jobs in Providence.

The R.I. Commerce Corp. board voted to award about $2 million in incentives to Vistaprint Corporate Solutions, which produces digital marketing products, including business cards for a variety of businesses. It plans to locate the new jobs, with salaries exceeding the state’s median wage, at a location yet to be determined in Providence, according to its attorney, Dan White.

The jobs, primarily in sales, have salaries that will start in the mid-$40,000s and extend up to six figures, according to White.

Outside the meeting, he said the company was attracted to the state, and agreed to site its national sales office in Providence, partly as a result of the affordability of the city and the density of recent college graduates.

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Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, who led the Commerce RI meeting, said the state hopes that this will be the beginning of more positions. “The whole plan is, just come to Rhode Island. Plunk down 100 jobs. It is the hope this will be many hundreds of people over time,” she said.

In a separate action, the Commerce RI board agreed to provide up to $3 million in state tax credits to 110 North Main LLC and 110 North Main Management LLC, which are constructing a new building at 169 Canal St., including 274 new apartments. The project, called Canal Street Apartments, will occupy a vacant lot now used as a parking area, and will also include 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

The Commerce RI board also voted to direct about $7.5 million in incentives, primarily through a 20-year waiver of state sales and hotel room taxes, to TPG 100 Sabin Hotel LLC, an entity associated with The Procaccianti Group of Cranston. The company said it needed the state financing to help cover construction cost increases in a project to replace the former Fogarty Building downtown with a 176-room, extended stay hotel.

The incentives authorized for The Procaccianti Group project include $100,000 in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits, and more than $5.8 million in state sales tax waivers for the hotel. The sales taxes, after 20 years, would be sent to the state, according to Michael A. Voccola, the hotel group’s corporate vice president and associate general counsel.

Outside the meeting room, he explained that the project ran into cost escalations over the past year or more, as the cost of materials and labor began to escalate. The meetings with Commerce RI to discuss gap financing for the hotel development began about six months ago, he said.

The tax incentives will be structured as tax increment financing, to contain only the hotel property. While demolition of the Fogarty building is nearly complete, Voccola explained that the separation and removal of debris will take some time, as well as preparation of the site for the new construction. He told the Commerce RI board that construction of the new hotel would begin this fall.

Mary MacDonald is a PBN staff writer.

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