State offers up to $20M for Electric Boat Quonset expansion, hiring of 1,300 workers

ELECTRIC BOAT will receive up to $20 million in incentives for its initiative to nearly double its square-footage in the Quonset Business park and hire 1,300 workers in Rhode Island as it scales up its workforce to build the Colombia-class submarine for the U.S. Navy. Above the Virginia-class submarine, which Electric Boat also produces for the Navy. / COURTESY ELECTRIC BOAT
ELECTRIC BOAT will receive up to $20 million in incentives for its initiative to nearly double its square-footage in the Quonset Business park and hire 1,300 workers in Rhode Island as it scales up its workforce to build the Columbia-class submarine for the U.S. Navy. Above the Virginia-class submarine, which Electric Boat also produces for the Navy. / COURTESY ELECTRIC BOAT

NORTH KINGSTOWN – General Dynamics Electric Boat is expanding its Quonset facility and creating 1,300 jobs over the next decade, the company announced Thursday.

As part of that plan, the company is set to receive up to $20 million in incentives. The state is committing $2 million dollars in Rebuild R.I. tax credits and up to $18 million in sales tax exemption credits for the 1.3 million-square-foot expansion of the company’s manufacturing space. The two incentives are tied to the company’s hiring, according to R.I. Commerce Corp. spokesman Matt Sheaff.

The construction is supposed to roughly double Electric Boat’s facility to 2.6 million square feet. The incentives will support new construction and renovation of existing properties in the Quonset Business Park.

The announcement of the expansion, jobs and incentives were made at Electric Boat’s North Kingstown facility Thursday afternoon with Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island congressional delegation in attendance.

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The construction is expected to support up to 600 construction jobs in the second-largest Project Labor Agreement – a PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement – in the state’s history, second only to the Amgen Inc. building project in 2001. The company is expected to begin construction in the summer.

The project has an expected capital investment by Electric Boat of $792 million.

“We at Electric Boat are looking out toward a bright future with the potential opportunity for substantial new work and accompanying growth,” said Jeffery S. Geiger, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat, in a statement. “This investment makes it very clear to our U.S. Navy customer that Rhode Island is ready, willing and able to support our efforts to build a great submarine fleet.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Connecticut announcing $83 million in incentives for Electric Boat at the company’s Groton facility to create 1,881 new jobs over the next 17 years, according to the Hartford Business Journal. The Connecticut-Electric Boat deal had no impact on Rhode Island’s negotiations with Electric Boat, said Sheaff, but the state was in contact with Electric Boat and Connecticut as the state believes both investments positively impact the region’s economy.

The possible $20 million to Electric Boat comes in addition to the $14 million in the governor’s budget set aside to modernize the port at Quonset Business Park, including dredging, dock improvements, electrical upgrades and other improvements. The upgrade is expected to open up the port for larger ships.

Electric Boat is also participating in the Supply RI initiative, the governor announced, which commits the state’s larger employers to do more business with local contractors and vendors. When the initiative launched in January, the state had 9 participating employers. Since then, Citizens Financial Group Inc. and Care New England have joined the initiative as well as Electric Boat.

Electric Boat is currently under contract to build the U.S. Navy Virginia-class submarines and was selected to be the prime contractor for the Columbia-class submarine, which requires the company to expand its facilities.

“Electric Boat is once again doubling down on Rhode Island,” said Raimondo in a statement. “Because of our new job training programs, the work we’ve done over the last three and half years to make it easier to do business in Rhode Island and because we’re finally willing to invest in infrastructure, Electric Boat is hiring thousands of Rhode Islanders for good, stable manufacturing jobs. This new development will create new opportunities for thousands of Rhode Island families – people who will get great jobs building submarines and tradesmen who have good work building this new facility.”

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.