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Viewing a mill's makeover

January 14, 2013

Speaker of the House Gordon Fox talks with Coventry Town Council President Gary Cote during a tour of Anthony Mill, which is being renovated into 122 apartments. Jessica Boisclair. Kent County Daily Times.

COVENTRY — Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox and numerous Coventry officials toured the historic Anthony Mill on Friday, which is being transformed into apartment units and may qualify for the historic tax credits if reinstated.

In May, 2008, the Rhode Island Division of Taxation granted a State Tax Credit for Historic Structures, which was equal to 25 percent of the cost of rehabilitation of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Unfortunately, this tax credit program was suspended in 2008 due to state budget cuts.

Fox, however, is working diligently to bring back a new version of the historic tax credit program.

“This is exactly what the program was designed to do,” he said. “It makes sense and these projects would not happen before incentives like this.”

He explained that because of the tax credit program, the 141-year-old Anthony Mill is in the process of being rehabilitated and restored.

“It’s a special place in Rhode Island’s history and in the town of Coventry,” Fox said.

Currently, he said the state is looking at the issues that came up during the use of the previous tax credit program.

“One of the issues that came up was, in bad economic times the size of the program and the expected drain on taxes was a big issue so we’re trying to look at how we can create a program that’s capped so it’s sustainable,” he said.

Although sustainable, Fox said he wants to make sure the program allows for projects to be examined and that as many of the best projects as possible can utilize this program.

During the tour, Tyler Langlois, Principal of Starr Development, LLC, explained that renovation on the mill began in October and he expected all 122 units to be finished by the summer.

Coventry Town Council President Gary Cote explained that the company came into town and did not ask the council for any tax increment financing (TIF) to help them out. He said they came prepared with their own money to rehabilitate the mill.

“These apartments will just increase the quality of life for the community,” he said. “Because the way they set this up, the impact on the school system and parks and recreation will be minimal; this is more of a professional development.”

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