Innovate Newport Project Receives $2.1 million from Commerce Department

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The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, through its Re-Build RI tax credit program, has awarded The Innovate Newport project $2.1 million, completing the capitalization stage and paving the way for final design and construction bidding, according to Scott A. Gibbs, president of The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island.

Innovate Newport, Gibbs said, involves the rehabilitation of a “35,000-square foot vacant school (the Sheffield School) into office suites and co-work space.” The $7.1 million project is expected to open in the summer of 2018.

Innovate Newport is a partnership of the City of Newport, Newport County Development Council, and The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, which is the project’s designated Preferred Developer and was the lead in the RE-Build funding initiative.

In a separate announcement, the design team of Northeast Collaborative Architects and Troika Studio, said they expect to begin the design-development phase this month, with a goal of beginning construction bidding in the early summer.

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Gibbs said the project will focus on “small companies and innovators working in the defense sector ecosystem, including underwater technologies, cyber security and resiliency.”

Innovate Newport entails the rehabilitation of the vacant school into “office suites and co-work space, all focused on small companies and innovators working in the defense sector ecosystem including underwater technologies, cyber security and resiliency.”

The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island describes itself on its website as comprising “over 120 years of combined experience in the design, implementation and management of real estate based economic development strategies. With the mission to expand community tax bases and to create quality job opportunities through well designed real estate projects, The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island is committed to being a valuable resource and partner in state, regional and local economic development initiatives.”

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