By: Nancy Lavin
PAWTUCKET – The developer behind a mixed-use, soccer stadium development along Pawtucket’s riverfront is seeking state tax credits to help pay for the estimated $250 million price tag.
The R.I. Commerce Corp. Investment Committee will meet on Thursday morning to consider a request from Tidewater Landing developer Fortuitous Partners for Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits, Matt Sheaff, R.I. Commerce spokesman, confirmed to Providence Business News on Wednesday. The exact amount of tax credits being requested has not been decided, and could be changed based on the committee’s recommendation to the full Commerce board, which is slated to vote on the request on Feb. 5, according to Sheaff.
The Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit program offers tax breaks for up to 20% or 30% of project costs on eligible real estate redevelopment projects, including through sales tax exemptions on construction and equipment.
The agenda posted for the Investment Committee puts the project cost at $250 million – well below the original $400 million price tag with which Fortuitous Partner principal Brett Johnson pitched the project to the city of Pawtucket over a year ago. Since then, the proposal has been scaled back, eliminating the privately owned Apex site and repositioning the event center, hotel and conference center to the two other properties. Office space will also be reduced from the original proposal due to shrinking demand caused by the pandemic.
Agreements between the developer, state and city have been subject to multiple extensions amid what project partners point to as the complexities of the private-public partnership intended to finance the project. The latest extension expired on Jan. 31 will not be re-upped, as the requested tax credits will serve to solidify any remaining negotiations, Sheaff said,
Johnson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the private investment needed to cover 80% of the project cost. Construction of the 8,000 to 10,000-seat soccer stadium is slated to begin this fall, according to master plans filed with the city, while the hotel and event center will not begin until 2025 due to the pandemic’s impact on the event and hospitality industries.
Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.