Metro

Toy company to relocate to downtown Providence

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hasbro, Inc. is expected to move into a newly-renovated building on LaSalle Street in downtown Providence Jan. 2, bringing 284 new full-time jobs and $24 million in investments to the city in the process. Famous for brands such as Furby, Playskool and Monopoly, the Pawtucket-based company was started in Rhode Island in 1923.

The company announced its expansion shortly after the second quarter of 2011, in which it reported a net growth of 23 percent to a net worth of $908.5 million.

“As we continue to grow, we were in need of additional space to house some of our divisions. This (new building) will be the home of the US Sales and marketing team and our Global operations,” wrote Wayne Charness, senior vice president of corporate communications at Hasbro, in an email to The Herald. Charness noted that the company was drawn to Providence by the prospect of close proximity to the city’s hotels for events.

“expansion plans are part of the company’s continued emergence as a branded play company,” wrote Melissa Chambers, communications marketing manager for the Rhode Island economic Development Corporation, in an email to The Herald. “No longer just a toy and game company, Hasbro is creating global experiences for its consumers …in a wide range of areas including film, digital gaming, licensing and television,” she noted.

Before Hasbro’s 2011 announcement of the move, Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14, who also serves on the board of directors for RIEDC, granted Hasbro “Project Status.” This “makes the company eligible for a sales tax exemption – to be capped at $1.628 million – on purchase of construction materials and equipment, furniture, fixtures, machinery, computers and facility equipment related to its expected expansion to Providence,” Chambers wrote in an email to The Herald.

In return for the tax break, the expansion will create 284 new full-time jobs over the next three years, with wages averaging about $80,290 per year, largely in marketing and product support, Chambers wrote.

Rhode Island currently faces the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, at 10.4 percent as of October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hasbro is not the first company to be attracted to Providence by tax breaks. Former Red Sox player Curt Schilling’s video game company 38 Studios expanded to Providence after being granted a $75 million loan by RIEDC. The company declared bankruptcy in June and owes $120 million on its loan to the state.

 

  • Anonymous

    the article states: “newly-renovated building on LaSalle Street in downtown Providence”. Why does a google maps search not come up with a result for “LaSalle Street, Providence, RI”?

  • Anonymous

    It should read LaSalle Square. This is where Empire, Broadway, and Sabin come together, by the Dunk.