There’s a new proposal to develop part of the former I-195 land. The project could bring in long sought-after jobs in the science and health sectors.
The proposal comes from Connecticut real estate developer, CV Properties, and Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology. Wexford is a real-estate developer specializing in the health sciences.
The two companies propose a more than one million square foot mixed-use development; which would include: laboratory, office, and retail space, as well as residences and a hotel. The proposal came in at the end of last week, and officials are quick to point out it’s still in very preliminary stages.
However, state leaders have already sounded positive notes regarding the proposal. Governor Gina Raimondo said the project could jumpstart the transformation of the vacant land, which has been sitting empty since the removal of the highway.
She added that the type of laboratory science jobs that the development could attract a make it the sort of project the state needs to jumpstart the still flagging economy.
“We’re delighted that Wexford has enough confidence to put this bid forward,” said Raimondo. “It’s an important step; Rhode Islanders should feel good that a major developer is saying, ‘we want to invest in Rhode Island.’”
The proposed parcels for development, 22 and 25, lay just across the street from land where the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox hope to build a 10,000 seat stadium.
Raimondo said she doesn’t think the two projects are necessarily in conflict.
“There’s opportunity on this land for more than one project, but we need to be very careful with taxpayer dollars and make sure we invest it in the places that can create the most jobs.”
Wexford Science and Technology have overseen similar projects in other states, and have reached out to area institutions.
Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College, have already begun work on a joint nursing school, streets away from the proposed development. That project is also a venture with CV Properties
URI President David Dooley said Wexford has reached out to the school. In a statement Dooley said the school is “excited about the possibilities with the proposed I-195 project and hopes to work with the applicants to bring innovation and development to the state.”
Leaders at the general assembly have sounded equally positive, but cautious notes.
Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed said the Wexford has a proven track record, but adds she has yet to given consideration to any economic incentives for the project.
Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello said “I look forward to working with them and the Senate President to further develop this project and other initiatives to move our economy forward.”
The group tasked with developing the nearly 19 acres of buildable Providence land, the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, is set to discuss the proposal at their next meeting on June 15th.
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