Governor Gina Raimondo took part a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday to mark the start of the first development utilizing the state's Rebuild RI tax credit.
The Commons at Providence Station will create 169 apartments on 2.85 acres of vacant land near the Providence train station. The project is utilizing a $5.6 million Rebuild RI tax credit and a 15-year tax stabilization agreement with the City of Providence.
Raimondo hailed the development as a sign of positive momentum in the state, aided by the award of 15 Rebuild RI tax credits.
“We have used about $40 million of state incentive in order to bring in about $400 million of private capital, and these projects alone will create hundreds of high-paying jobs for the people of Rhode Island,” she said.
The Rebuild RI credit, designed by the Raimondo administration and approved by the General Assembly, is celebrating its first anniversary.
The developers of the The Commons project, John M. Corcoran and Company, based in Braintree, Massachusetts, and Providence-based Trilogy Development, said it would not happen without the Rebuild RI tax credit. Raimondo said the credit helps narrow a gap for how developers face similar building costs in Boston and New York, while rents are much higher there.
"In order to be able to compete with cities like that," she said, "we had to provide a little bit of a subsidy so that they would be willing to invest their money, and also they could make the kind of return that they needed to make in order to be here."
Rents at The Commons are expected to run between $1,700 and $2,000 a month -- illustrating the demand for apartments near downtown Providence. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said the addition of 169 units, with perhaps twice that many residents, will help to make downtown Providence more vital.
Yet state Sen. John Pagliarini (R-Tiverton) noted on Twitter that tax credits remain a tough sell for real estate owners who face vacancies and high property taxes.