The Quonset Development Corporation
The Quonset Development Corporation is a quasi-state agency, established as a special-purpose subsidiary of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. QDC, which is responsible for the development and management of the Quonset Business Park, was created by the Rhode Island General Assembly on July 1, 2004, and became effective through a transfer of powers on January 1, 2005.
The Quonset Development Corporation develops and manages the Quonset Business Park, a statewide asset, in accordance with the Master Land Use and Development Plan in the best interest of the citizens of Rhode Island to attract and retain successful businesses that provide diverse employment opportunities.
Quonset Point Naval Air Station (N.A.S. Quonset) was established as part of the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, shortly before the US entered World War II. It served as the major northeastern naval base during the war and subsequent years. During its heyday Quonset’s workforce, combined with that of the adjacent Davisville Construction Battalion Center, was the largest in the state of Rhode Island.
The Navy established the Construction Battalion Center at Davisville (N.C.B.C. Davisville) less than a year after Quonset was completed. Unbeknownst to many, the Davisville area of Quonset used to be home to the thriving, 370-acre Romano Farm and Vineyards. Davisville would become the birthplace of the ‘Seabees’ a portion of service people in the U.S. Navy tasked with building bases, creating roadways, airstrips, and numerous other construction projects during conflicts dating back to World War II. It was the Davisville Seabees and their innovative problem-solving skills that led to the creation of what is now known as the “Quonset Hut”.
The Quonset base was decommissioned on June 28, 1974. The Navy declared most of Quonset Point surplus to its needs and the land and buildings were offered to the State of Rhode Island and North Kingstown for civilian use. Though Davisville avoided Quonset’s fate and managed to remain functional through the 1970s, activity gradually tapered off as the military’s strategic focus shifted toward the Pacific Ocean. By the 1980s, Davisville’s facilities had been stripped back to a skeleton crew and many of its buildings were sealed. Davisville was selected for closure during the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC 1991) program and operational closure occurred on April 1, 1994.
Following their closures, the land at Quonset and Davisville was managed and developed by various state entities until the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) was created by the Rhode Island General Assembly on July 1, 2004 (RIGL 42-64.9), which became effective on January 1, 2005.
The Quonset Development Corporation now is responsible for the development and management of the Quonset Business Park, including operating its own Water Supply System and Wastewater Service system. The QDC has grown the Business Park into the economic engine it is today, employing over 13,000 people in 200 companies and producing over $5.9 Billion in economic output annually for the State of Rhode Island.