Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology and real estate developer CV Properties have signed a purchase and sale agreement for two parcels of land and plan to develop a three-phase project on the vacant former highway land with research and development space, offices, hotel and residential space and other attractions.
Governor Gina Raimondo hailed the news.
“Wexford and CV have created thriving life science centers and leading research and development business environments around the country," the governor said in a statement. "Their decision to take this next step forward with Rhode Island is a big deal for our state and shows we have momentum. This project has the potential to create many good-paying jobs for Rhode Islanders over the next few years. While there is still work to do, we remain relentless in our efforts to bring these jobs here and build an innovation economy in Rhode Island.”
The cost for the parcels of land, (numbers 22 and 25) was about $6.6 million, according to Dyana Koelsch, spokeswoman for the I-195 Commission, the agency tasked with developing the land.
Koelsch said the purchase and sale follows months "of negotiations and collaboration among Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, Chairman Joseph Azrack, the 195 Commission and the City of Providence to attract nationally recognized developers to the I-195 land. Under the agreement, Wexford and CV will apply for newly enacted state incentives designed to spark innovation and design development to create 21st century jobs."
Construction is tentatively set to begin in early 2017 on a mixed use space that will house research and development labs, office space, as well as a hotel, restaurant, and residential complex. The project will be tackled in three phases, the first of which involves construction of more than 500,000 square feet.
"Brown is excited about this next step toward a project that has the promise of contributing to a transformed Jewelry District," Brown University President Christina Paxson said. "The prospect of being an anchor partner in the development of a life sciences complex aligns with Brown’s plans to house a translational science facility in the Jewelry District. Brown plans to invest in facilities for research and teaching in areas of science that intersect with commercial enterprise."
The project was first proposed in May 2015.
Wexford has pursued similar agreements in Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia and other cities.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said the purchase and sale "signing marks another step forward in what will be one of the busiest construction seasons in decades in Providence. The Wexford/CV development will attract good-paying, long-term jobs, and I look forward to continuing to support this project and others like it so that Providence can grow and thrive in the months and years to come.”
The company's growing interest in Providence was signaled when Wexford became the capital funding source for CV Properties' South Street Landing project last summer.
I-195 Commission Chairman Joseph Azrack said in a statement, “The signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement with Wexford and CV Properties on Parcels 22 and 25 marks an important milestone in the development of the 195 Land and the formation of an Innovation and Design District that will help grow our economy."
This post has been updated.