Brown U Unveils Plan to Utilize Vacant South Street Power Station

Jun 27, 2013

Brown University is out with a plan for invigorating the vacant Dynamo House, the former South Street Power Station:

Brown University, Rhode Island College (RIC), and the University of Rhode Island (URI) announced plans today to advance a comprehensive redevelopment project in Providence’s Jewelry District. In collaboration with the State of Rhode Island and City of Providence, the three institutions will enter lease negotiations with Commonwealth Venture Properties, a private developer, that would transform the former South Street Power Station — “Dynamo House,” 360 Eddy Street — to accommodate educational and health sciences growth, including a shared RIC/URI nursing center. The project would also provide additional retail space, housing for graduate, medical, and upper-level nursing students, and a new parking facility on adjacent property.

As currently envisioned, the proposed mixed-use complex would include:

-- up to 120,000 square feet of space in the redeveloped South Street Power Station for a RIC/URI shared nursing education center;

-- 120,000 square feet of space in the former Power Station for Brown University, to be used initially for administrative offices, freeing up College Hill campus space for core academic growth;

-- a new, 150,000 square-foot apartment-style student residence for approximately 296 graduate, medical, and upper-level nursing students, to be built on the parking area of Davol Square;

-- 15,000 square feet of ground-floor restaurant and retail space in the new residential building;

-- 20,000 square feet of space for start-ups and other small technology-based companies;

-- a new parking structure with 600 parking spaces located on a surface parking area on Point Street, south of Davol Square; and

-- improvements to the public space along the Providence River and connection to the new public park to be located in the area made available through the relocation of Interstate 195.

The total project cost is estimated to be $206 million and is expected to be financed through a combination of previously committed state historic tax credits, new federal historic tax credits, private debt/private equity, and public support for the parking structure. Long-term lease commitments from Brown for approximately half of the space and from the state for the shared nursing center will enable to project to move forward.

Brown cites a report produced by independent economic analysts at Appleseed showing "the project is expected to have a positive short- and long-term economic impact on the city and state, creating more than 1,500 construction-related jobs, a total of $248 million in economic output, and more than $90 million in employee compensation. Once completed and fully operational, the project is intended to offer opportunities for the residents of Providence and Rhode Island, enhance nursing education, and create jobs in a range of sectors from commercial start-ups to retail and service sectors."

The Dynamo House was once the planned site for a Rhode Island history heritage museum, but the plan never came to fruition.