Quonset has been a top economic generator for Rhode Island for many years, and the national recognition of that success continues. Recently, we were again ranked the sixth best industrial park in America by Business Facilities Magazine.
Once home to two World War II naval bases, Quonset today hosts over 200 companies that employ 12,200 people. Quonset Business Park has grown rapidly since 2005; generating $1.3 billion in private investment and creating nearly 7,000 jobs. The manufacturing sector has grown consistently at the park, as Quonset is home to one of our every six manufacturing jobs in R.I. Quonset’s average wage is also 19% higher than the statewide average.
There are a variety of reasons why Quonset has grown into a nation-leading industrial park.
1. Quonset’s greatest strength has always been in the variety of facilities and world-class infrastructure available to companies. Quonset can support large, high-tech industrial operations, as well as growing businesses with the state-of-the-art flex industrial campus. Our park also hosts start-ups, small businesses and professional service companies in the Gateway Office Complex. Whatever a company’s needs, Quonset can deliver world-class infrastructure to support their goals.
2. The on-site Port of Davisville, a top-10 auto importer in North America, provides public access to a world-class port facility. The $83 million Pier 2 expansion—which came in $7 million under budget and will extend the pier’s life by 50 years—was officially unveiled in July. The expansion will allow the port to maintain its auto import success while preparing R.I. for future wind energy projects.
3. Quonset’s site readiness program makes pre-permitted and pre-engineered parcels available, allowing businesses to get “shovels in the ground” within 90 days of site control, a remarkably short timeframe. Our initiative inspired a new site readiness program called Rhode Island Ready, which aims to replicate Quonset’s successful model across the state. Eight sites have already been approved and enrolled.
4. Quonset’s location places companies at the heart of major shipping and travel routes in the region. Quonset also affords access to freight rail lines, with 14 miles of track in the park itself. Minutes from both Rte. 4 and I-95 highways, Quonset provides access to three airports – Rhode Island T.F. Green International (RI), Logan International (MA), and Bradley International (CT) and train routes like the MBTA and Amtrak.
5. Quonset is a leader in green energy initiatives. The park has hosted the construction of some of the nation’s most ambitious wind energy projects, including the nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island. Quonset’s partnership with National Grid was recently recognized at the R.I. Office of Energy Resources’ 5th Annual ‘Lead by Example’ Clean Energy Awards. The two-year partnership helped Quonset businesses conserve over 14.5 million kWh of electricity, nearly 155,000 therms of natural gas and $2.7 million in energy savings.
6. To attract the best talent, you have to be a place where people want to work. The park is home to a public 18-hole golf course, four public beaches, a bike path, a daycare facility and a free express bus shuttle service that connects to Providence, in partnership with the R.I. Public Transit Authority. These amenities create an attractive environment for employees while benefiting our neighbors, as well.
QDC appreciates Business Facilities Magazine recognizing Quonset’s efforts on a national scale, and the hard work it takes to make our business park accessible for companies large and small.
Read more about Quonset’s ranking in Business Facilities Magazine: businessfacilities.com/2022/07/metro-rankings-report-honors-thriving-industrial-parks-logistics-leaders/
Steven King, PE, is the managing director of the Quonset Development Corp., North Kingstown, R.I.