Mayor Taveras is unveiling his Economic Development Report.
Update: Media reports
- Providence Business News: Taveras outlines economic development plan
- WPRI: Mayor’s economic plan includes freezing commercial taxes, redeveloping Kennedy Plaza
Pledging Action, Mayor Taveras Outlines Plan to Grow Providence’s Economy
‘Putting Providence Back to Work’ report presents roadmap to improve the business climate, infrastructure and human capital in Rhode Island’s Capital City
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras today announced a 20-step economic development action plan to put Providence residents back to work and jumpstart the economy of Rhode Island’s Capital City.
The Mayor said that Providence’s economy must be built on the success of a broad range of industries and sectors, and pledged swift action to improve Providence’s business climate, infrastructure and human capital.
“When we work together, we can compete head to head with any city or state in this country,” said Mayor Taveras. “Nothing will change minds about Providence as much as continuing our track record of success.”
The Mayor outlined five immediate steps his administration will pursue to support and grow Providence’s economy:
- Freeze the commercial tax rate – The Taveras administration will work with the Providence City Council to enact a seven-year commercial real estate tax freeze that guarantees consistency and stability for developers in Rhode Island and beyond.
“Freezing our commercial property tax rate will send a message that Providence is serious about attracting new business. We look forward to the day when economic growth in our City enables us to actually lower Providence’s commercial rate,” Mayor Taveras said.
- Fix the City’s Permitting Process – Contained in the FY14 budget that Mayor Taveras will present to the City Council next month are two positions to staff a new unit in the Department of Inspections and Standards focused solely on reviewing and approving small-permit applications of under $100,000. These small projects account for 75 percent of all permit applications in the City.
Additionally, this summer the City will move its permit application process online. For the first time, developers will only need to log onto the City’s website to apply for a permit and get status updates on their applications.
- Remove Barriers to Redevelopment – The City will conduct an inventory of all major properties in need of redevelopment. For properties that are not defined as historic landmarks, the City will put on a fast-track for approval all projects to replace existing structures with new construction.
“We recognize that the City has an important role to play in facilitating new development. It is time to get cranes in the air and put people to work rebuilding our city,” Mayor Taveras said.
- Develop Surface Lots Citywide – To stimulate real estate development and ease the crunch on parking downtown, the Taveras administration will work with the City Council to provide tax stabilizations to developers who commit to new development on existing surface lots. New construction on an existing lot will be taxed based on the property’s current assessed value. This program will create jobs, incentivize new, mixed-use developments, and spur new investment on Providence’s major commercial corridors.
- Reinvent Kennedy Plaza – The City will work with the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, RIPTA and other public and private partners to reconfigure and reduce the number of buses in the Plaza and transform it into a pedestrian destination.