Electric Boat signs 25-year lease
General Dynamics Electric Boat and the Quonset Development Corporation reached a new 25-year lease agreement last week to extend and expand Electric Boat’s footprint at Quonset Business Park. Approved by the QDC board of directors at its December meeting, the expanded lease will give Electric Boat the flexibility it needs to construct specialized facilities for submarine programs.
The terms of the tentative agreement expand Electric Boat’s footprint by about 42 acres, which includes more than 1 million square feet of building space. Currently Electric Boat leases 100 acres at the business park, and owns an additional 33 acres. The company performs a variety of activities at Quonset, including manufacturing, hull fabrication, modular construction, coating and steel processing. The 25 years will be the longest lease term that Electric Boat has held at the Quonset Business Park
The new lease includes an incentive package that provides a discount depending on the length of the lease and an additional discount for job creation. The incentive program is the standard offered by the development corporation to all future tenants.
According to Jim Rugh, Jamestown’s representative on the QDC board of directors, the employment incentive in the lease is important. In order to take advantage of the incentive, Rugh says Electric Boat plans to increase hiring.
“Currently they employ 2,500 and are in the process of hiring an additional 500,” Rugh said. “If they get the contracts they expect to receive, they plan to increase employment by 50 percent to 5,000 by 2021, and by 100 percent to 6,000 by 2027. The majority of these new jobs will be well-paying skilled workers.”
The average wage at Electric Boat is in excess of $50,000, not including benefits. The decision by Congress to double production of the Virginia-class submarine has already resulted in the increase of several hundred jobs at Quonset. The company has also invested more than $900 million at Quonset since it established its manufacturing site there in 1973. In the last three years, Electric Boat has spent $112 million at 270 Rhode Island-based suppliers.
“It’s only a matter of time now before there are more than 10,000 jobs across all the companies here at Quonset Business Park,” said Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Quonset Business Park is now home to more than 175 companies, employing approximately 9,500 people in full-time and parttime jobs in many industries. The Port of Davisville at Quonset is also one of the top 10 auto-importers in North America. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics and the largest employer at the business park.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Jamestown resident and the chairman of a congressional subcommittee on seapower, has helped lead the effort to include funding in the federal budget for Virginia-class submarines and other shipbuilding programs.
Virginia-class submarines are a class of nuclear-powered fast attack subs in the U.S. Navy.
“Submarines are crucial to our security and that means there should be every hope that Electric Boat will expand its work force here in Rhode Island in the coming years,” said Reed.
Electric Boat recently completed two major expansion projects at the business park: a $25 million coatings building that will support the construction of two Virginiaclass submarines per year, and a $7 million moored training ship building that will support construction of the Navy’s next-generation ship trainers.
“This is good news to many Rhode Islanders who do not want to pursue a college degree but do want to be able to raise a family and live in the Ocean State,” said Rugh. “These skilled positions can be an excellent option for many. The fact that Electric Boat is projecting employment out 15 years gives young people the time to train to fill these good jobs.”