wexford providencePROVIDENCE:  GE, Virgin Pulse and Johnson and Johnson are all the latest tech catches for Rhode Island. State incentives are at play as well as a new tech complex to house technology companies. Former Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, is Rhode Island’s Commerce Secretary and the lead on the state’s tech incentives.

Virgin Pulse a health tech is owned by British Billionaire Richard Branson and is seeking $5.4 million to move its Framingham Mass., based company to Providence. VP says its project’s expected cost is $10.5 million. Virgin Pulse told the Providence Journal they expect to hire 300 employees within three years at an average pay of $73,000.

Johnson & Johnson the healthcare giant, which recently struck a deal with New Haven’s Achillion with a $225 million up front payment and a billion plus dollars potentially down the road, plans to open a “health technology center” with 75 jobs in 2017. 

J&J will use space adjacent to the new $150 million tech center that is being proposed.

The “innovation complex’ has already attracted two ‘anchor” tenants and $20 million in state tax incentives according to the Providence Journal newspaper. 

CV Properties LLC, of Boston, MA and Southport, CT and Wexford Science and Technology of Baltimore are looking for as much as $32 million to support the $150 million cost of the development. Wexford is the owner of the 300 George Street and the Alexion Pharmaceuticals building.

The one million square foot complex have signed on the Cambridge Innovation Center and Brown University for a School of Professional Studies with 15 year leases of 65,000 and 50,000 square feet respectively.

CV is hoping to build a 96,000 square foot Starwood Hotel next to the tech property.  

Rhode Island officials had been incentive shy after  a big hit from a $75 million bonding, to guarantee loans to move former Boston Red Sox star Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios from Massachusetts. The company moved to Rhode Island and then went bust faster than Schilling’s fastball and filed bankruptcy. Rhode Island claimed that Schilling had defrauded the state, but has agreed to $2.5 million settlement, because 38 Studios was busted.

GE ditched Connecticut for a Boston headquarters and then threw Providence another headquarters’ candidate a bone, after it lost the headquarters hunt.  Digital GE is setting up in Providence, with 100 employees.  GE execs cited the creativity of the Providence community as the reason for the choice.