Speaker, President join in announcing major Pawtucket redevelopment project
PAWTUCKET – House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and other state and local leaders today to announce the largest economic development project in Pawtucket’s history, made possible by legislation passed by the General Assembly in June.
Known as Tidewater Landing, the $400 million project proposed by Fortuitous Partners will transform Pawtucket’s waterfront with hundreds of thousands of square feet of new development, including a new professional soccer team that will compete in the United Soccer League Championship — the second division of professional soccer in the United States.
Public investment, generated through new Pawtucket Tax Increment Financing (TIF) tool authorized by the General Assembly, will be focused on public infrastructure and non-stadium development. The project is expected to add more than $130 million annually to the state’s GDP.
The TIF legislation (2019-H 6153Aaa / 2019-S 0673aa), sponsored by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), authorizes state and local incremental tax revenues, such as sales taxes, generated in the Arts District, the Growth Center District and the Ballpark District in Pawtucket to be used to finance improvements and redevelopment in the districts.
“When the General Assembly proudly enacted the legislation creating the Pawtucket Tax Increment Financing earlier this year, we were hopeful it would generate such an exciting economic development opportunity as this one,” said Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). “It has been a collaborative effort between the Pawtucket House delegation of Reps. Mary Messier, Raymond Johnston, Carlos Tobon, Jean-Philippe Barros and Karen Alzate, in working with Mayor Grebien and the Commerce Corporation, to attract this great project which will transform the city’s waterfront. I thank Brett Johnson and Fortuitous Partners for their faith and foresight by investing in Pawtucket’s future and bringing this extensive business and retail development, which will generate thousands of jobs, and the fast-growing sport of professional soccer to our state.”
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) said, “Pawtucket is the northern gateway for our state, and this project will help the city to revitalize and grow. This is a transformative project not only for Pawtucket but also for our state. I want to commend the entire Pawtucket delegation for sponsoring the legislation that made this possible, and especially the prime sponsor, Sen. Sandra Cano, for her efforts.”
The project will include expanded waterfront access through a riverwalk park connecting downtown to the currently underutilized riverfront, a new pedestrian bridge, and other key infrastructure upgrades. In addition to a new 7,500-seat multi-use stadium, the selected developer — Fortuitous Partners, an investment firm specializing in sports-anchored mixed-use real estate projects — is expected to include an indoor sports complex, more than 200 units of market-rate and workforce housing, a 200-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of commercial office space and 100,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage and other community space. It is estimated that the full project will create more than 2,500 direct and indirect construction jobs and more than 1,200 direct, ongoing jobs once complete.
“Today is an exciting first step toward a $400 million investment in Pawtucket’s future,” said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “This economic development project will establish a professional soccer team from a leading national league here in Rhode Island, revitalize the waterfront and downtown and create more than 3,500 jobs. Most importantly, it will transform this area into a vibrant hub of activity like we haven’t seen in decades.”
The project is currently focused on the Tidewater and Division Street sites that are owned by National Grid and the city, respectively. The final development sites, phasing, construction costs and schedule for the project will be finalized during an upcoming due diligence period. The goal is for the USL professional soccer team to kick off in its new stadium in time for the 2022 season.
The project’s developer, Fortuitous Partners, is an investment firm that invests in real estate developments and operating businesses, particularly in sports-anchored, mixed-use real estate projects. Its founder and principal, Brett M. Johnson, is also co-chairman and shareholder of Phoenix Rising Football Club (PRFC) in the USL Championship Division.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the city of Pawtucket, the Blackstone Valley and the state of Rhode Island. This $400 million investment in one of Pawtucket’s opportunity zones will create jobs and will be a transformative economic development at the gateway into our state. It’s a natural expansion from our beautiful Slater Mill National Park to the city’s underutilized riverfront. The Blackstone Valley is prime with development opportunities. The Fortuitous Project along with the Pawtucket/Central Falls commuter rail stop are game changers,” said Mayor Grebien. “The Fortuitous Partners’ vision aligns with what the residents of Pawtucket need and deserve. We thank Gov. Gina Raimondo, Speaker Mattiello, Senate President Ruggerio, the General Assembly, CommerceRI, the City Council, the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency and everyone who assisted in this project that will be a major catalyst for years to come.”
In photo: Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), the sponsors of the TIF legislation that made the Tidewater proposal possible, at the announcement of the proposal.
For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 331A
Providence, RI 02903