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Schilling’s company signs Providence lease

By Calvin Hennick
Globe Correspondent / September 24, 2010

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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company 38 Studios has signed a lease on new space in Providence, where it will relocate from its current headquarters in Maynard.

The deal brings the company a step closer to closing on a $75 million loan guarantee from the state of Rhode Island. Signing a lease by Nov. 30 was a condition set by Rhode Island officials, who put together the package of financial incentives to draw 38 Studios to their state, where they hope to build a local video game industry.

“Providence offers a central location with a vibrant mix of office buildings, restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as a rich pool of talent from nearby universities,’’ 38 Studios chief executive Jen MacLean said in a statement.

“We are proud and excited to be making this move.’’

The video game company will move to One Empire Plaza in Providence, a six-story, 104,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown.

The company did not disclose a schedule for the move, and declined to comment further.

Keith Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, said the company is the first to participate in a state program that offers loan guarantees for technology-based businesses that expand or relocate there.

The company has promised to bring 450 new jobs to Rhode Island within three years.

“They’re very close to their talent pool,’’ Stokes said, noting that the company’s new location is near Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Rhode Island, and Brown University, and that it will be able to readily recruit graduates. “It becomes a one-stop environment for 38 Studios or any company that values access to well-trained workers.’’

Umberto Crenca, artistic director of the Providence arts space AS220, said the company’s presence will boost the city’s efforts to brand itself as a creative capital.

“It’s inevitable that some of these game design superstars will end up teaching classes’’ at nearby universities, he said.

“It exploits all of the best minds and the best contemporary technology that exists,’’ Crenca added. “It’s current. I really see this as the future of Providence.’’

Calvin Hennick can be reached at calvinhennick@yahoo.com.