NORTH KINGSTOWN – General Dynamics Electric Boat has signed a new 25-year lease agreement with the Quonset Development Corporation to extend and expand its footprint at Quonset Business Park, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced Wednesday.
Approved by the QDC’s board of directors at their December meeting, the lease will add 42 acres to Electric Boat’s current acreage, including 1 million square feet of additional building space, allowing the company to construct specialized facilities for its submarine programs.
“Today’s announcement means more good-paying jobs with excellent benefits for Rhode Island and will help boost our economy,” said Chafee in a release. “Quonset has become one of the premier business complexes in the Northeast, and it includes Electric Boat’s facility where modular construction of submarines was pioneered and continues to be perfected.”
Currently, Electric Boat leases 100 acres at the business park and owns an additional 33 acres. The Groton, Conn.-based defense contractor employs more than 2,500 people at Quonset to support its manufacturing, hull fabrication, modular construction, coating and steel processing.
The 25-year lease – which includes discount incentives based on the length of the lease and payroll growth – will be the longest lease term Electric Boat has held at the Quonset Business Park.
“Since Electric Boat opened its Quonset fabrication plant 40 years ago, we have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the state of Rhode Island,” said Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger in the release. “This new agreement provides us with the room we need to meet the Navy’s future shipbuilding needs, and these facilities, designed for efficient production, provide the U.S. Navy the most cost-effective approach.”
Electric Boat has invested more than $900 million at Quonset since establishing its manufacturing site there in 1973. In the last three years, Electric Boat has spent $112 million at 270 Rhode Island-based suppliers.
The decision by Congress in 2010 to double production of the Virginia-class submarine has already resulted in the creation of about 500 new jobs at Quonset, said Electric Boat spokesman Bob Hamilton, and they plan to add 500 more over the next year and a half.
“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 Chafee.
Quonset Business Park is currently home to more than 175 companies employing approximately 9,500 full-time and part-time employees. Electric Boat, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, is the largest employer at the business park. The company recently completed two major expansion projects at the business park: a $25 million coatings building to support the construction of two Virginia-class submarines per year, and a $7 million moored training-ship building to support the construction of ships designed to train the Navy’s next generation of sailors.
“We are very pleased to have come to a long-term agreement with Electric Boat, one of our longest-standing tenants at the business park,” said Steven J. King, managing director of the QDC. “The QDC is deeply committed to helping move Rhode Island forward and to continue to position the park as an engine of economic growth.”
Marcel Valois, executive director of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and chairman of the QDC’s board of directors, said, “Electric Boat is one of 175 great companies at Quonset Business Park helping to create more jobs and move the Rhode Island economy forward. The board of directors approved this lease because we are committed to helping bring more jobs to the state and to showing the world that Rhode Island is a place where companies can grow and succeed.”