Regent wants to build sea gliders in RI with tax credit

  • Gliders are neither boats nor planes
  • The State Commerce Corporation approved a $13 million tax incentive to relocate the company to Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation has approved a $13 million tax incentive for a Massachusetts company to move to North Kingstown as it expands and hopes to build an all-electric “sea glider” that isn’t Quite a boat but not quite an airplane Either.

The Commerce Corporation voted at its meeting on Wednesday to award the tax incentive proposal, under the Skilled Employment Incentive Tax Credit Program, to Regent Craft, currently based in Burlington.

Under the proposal, the company will relocate to Rhode Island and create 300 full-time jobs by 2028. The company will also spend $367 million on the construction of a new building and on machinery and equipment.

CTO Mike Klinker, who answered questions from the Commerce Corporation, said in an interview that the company chose Rhode Island after conducting research on the best mix of talent, real estate prices and access. to the ocean. The company can now sign property leases and plans to build a hangar in Quonset. The move is expected to begin in July.

“We want to deploy them and in the water,” Klinker said.

What is the Regent “Sea Glider”?

Klinker said a prototype, a quarter the size of the plane they hope to build, is being tested in Tampa, Fla., and expected to take flight later this year. It has already passed the flotation and hydrofoil tests.

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The aircraft, also called “wing vehicles in ground effect“, or WIG, are basically airplanes that fly just above the surface of the water at up to 180 mph.

The gear is regulated by the US Coast Guard, instead of the Federal Aviation Administration. The first version of the “sea glider” would carry 12 people, with a range of 180 miles, and the second version would carry at least 50 people, according to the Regent website.

Not quite an airplane and not quite a boat, this prototype craft is designed to fly just over water at up to 180 mph.

The company had raised $27 million in January and plans to bring in more capital for research and development, manufacturing and operations, according to the proposal.

The company received funding from Thiel Capital, founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. The company recorded more than $4.6 billion in sales of “sea gliders to airlines and ferry companies, according to Regent’s website.

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How the tax credit program works

The Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit, passed in 2015, gives companies up to $7,500 per job per year, for up to 10 years, by reimbursing them for income taxes paid by their employees.

Regent’s plan would cover 300 employees over the next 10 years, starting in 2025.

Flux Marine of East Greenwich, which develops battery-powered outboard motors, recently received $1.9 million over 10 years from the tax credit scheme.

With state and investor support, Flux plans to open a new manufacturing plant in the Unity Park complex on Wood Street in Bristol and grow its Rhode Island workforce to 88 people.

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In 2021, the Commerce Corporation approved up to $3.5 million in tax credits, over 10 years, to Texas-based MTX Group — which provides artificial intelligence and data analytics to help businesses modernize their operations – as she planned to build a “regional collaboration center” in Providence.

In 2018, the Commerce Corporation approved tax incentives for four companies, which would have created 2,000 manufacturing jobs in the state.

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Journalist Paul Edward Parker contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite at [email protected]

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