Johnson & Johnson expects to become a tenant in the Wexford Science & Technology innovation center, whose construction is expected to start Monday with a 10 a.m. groundbreaking.

The global health-care company this year created its new health-care technology center in the One Ship Street space adjacent to where Wexford will build.

It employs 47 people there now, but the company expects to continue hiring until it employs the full 75 people, for which it secured $4.6 million in state financial incentives earlier this year, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor told The Providence Journal.

Asked whether Johnson & Johnson is expanding significantly, Gov. Gina Raimondo told reporters on Channel 12′s “Newsmakers” program, “They’re growing. They like being in Rhode Island.”

For now, Pryor said the company hasn’t decided whether its future move into the Wexford center means it will move operations from One Ship or maintain operations there and create additional offices next door. The state hopes the company hire even more employees, he said.

“Johnson & Johnson has indicated that they’ve had a very positive experience at One Ship Street thus far,” Pryor said. “We will work with all of the partners involved to ensure there’s a high-quality space built for them at the Wexford complex. Over the longer term, we hope that there is the potential for more [employees].”

Wexford had already secured two tenants for the 191,000-square-foot building: the Cambridge Innovation Center and Brown University School of Professional Studies. Those leases are for about 66,000 and 50,000 square feet, respectively, Pryor said. The building will also house a cafe and other space where nonprofits and civic groups can gather.

Until now, about 65,700 square feet had remained to be filled. Now, Johnson & Johnson has signed a lease to occupy 31,000 square feet, Pryor said.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation in January approved $4.35 million of Qualified Jobs tax credits for the company and $250,000 in First Wave Closing Funds, which are intended to help encourage companies to move to or expand in Rhode Island.

The tax credits are to be paid over 10 years, and the company has pledged to keep the jobs here at least 12 years. The credits are based on a small portion of personal income tax credits that employees pay Rhode Island and are given to the company only after those employees have worked here a full year. The jobs that qualify pay a median salary of $137,000.

Realistically, Raimondo told Channel 12, the firm would move into the innovation center in about 18 months. Her office did not reply to requests from The Providence Journal to discuss Johnson & Johnson’s decision.


Source: Providence Journal | Kate Bramson | September 22, 2017