Project: The City of Newport is proposing a $7.1 million redevelopment of the historic Sheffield School. The project is a collaboration between the City, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, and the Economic Development Fund of Rhode Island (EDFRI). The nearly 34,000-SF school will be converted into a cowork and office complex targeted to entrepreneurs, innovators, and small businesses working in the defense sector and allied industries including but not limited to underwater technologies and cyber security. The project is a key component of the City of Newport’s overall economic development strategy to build economic resiliency and has the potential to catalyze economic growth in several target industries including defense, maritime, and technology.
Approved Incentive: The Sponsor has requested up to a maximum of $2,128,123 in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits, which will be issued over 5 years.
Innovate Newport is a collaborative project of the City of Newport, Newport County Development Council (an affiliate of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce) and the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island (EDFRI). EDFRI, the project’s designated preferred developer, has over 50 years of experience in the design, execution, and management of real-estate-based economic development projects in Rhode Island. Past projects include the Highland Corporate Parks in Cumberland and Woonsocket, the I-295 Industrial/Office Park in Lincoln, the Cumberland Commerce Center in Cumberland, and multiple speculative commercial buildings in Cumberland and Burrillville.
The Newport County Development Council (NCDC) represents the Aquidneck Island business community and regional economic development efforts. NCDC has undertaken several economic development initiatives related to the defense sector and will have a leadership role in the management of the facility. NCDC also will assist in marketing efforts to attract entrepreneurs and startups in the target industries.
In addition to providing significant funding, the city is an active partner, helping to streamline the permitting and regulatory process and ensuring that the project contributes to their overall economic development plan and other projects in development, such as the North End Innovation Hub.
Prior to certification, ownership of the project will be leased to a dedicated non-profit.