R.I. Commerce awards $3M in tax credits for 2 mill renovations

THE R.I. COMMERCE CORP. board awarded $3 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits for construction projects in historic mill buildings that will be used for housing and commercial space.

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Commerce Corp. Monday granted $3 million worth of tax credits for two construction projects that are converting historic mills into housing and commercial space.

The credits are coming from the Rebuild Rhode Island program, and Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said $15 million remains in the program, after the decision by the R.I. Commerce board to grant the credits.

“This is to inject energy into our economy,” Pryor said. “We aim to advance these two projects as we emerge from the COVID downturn. It is our workhorse program that aims to facilitate the development of brick-and-mortar projects across the state.”

Board member Bernard V. Buonanno III said, “They’re renovating historic buildings in hope communities. This will not happen without Rebuild dollars.”

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The agency awarded $2 million in tax credits to Arctic Mill Realty Partners LLC, which plans a mixed-use building to house 136 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of office and retail space in West Warwick. The development cost for the project is estimated at $31.5 million.

Branch Holdings LLC was the recipient of $1 million in tax credits for funding a mixed-use complex in Providence that is expected to house 228 apartment units and 20,000 square feet of commercial space. The total development cost for the project is estimated to be $46.2 million.

The Branch Holdings project is Wanskuck Mill, a former textile mill built in the 1860s and located on Route 146 in Providence that sat mostly vacant for decades. It is now 95% leased and has a bicycle shop on the ground floor. A new restaurant is set to move in also.

According to R.I. Commerce’s website, the Rebuild Rhode Island program is aimed at filling a financing gap with redeemable tax credits covering up to 20%, and, in some cases, 30% of project costs. Projects that qualify for the tax credit are historic rehab, commercial office, industrial, residential, mixed-use development, and ground-up construction.

Development projects with a minimum cost of $5 million, and which meet certain square footage/project size minimums, can apply. Approved projects can also be exempted from sales tax on construction materials, furnishings, and equipment.

Cassius Shuman is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Shuman@PBN.com.

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