Wexford Innovation Complex Breaks Ground

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina Raimondo today joined state and local officials, representatives from Wexford Science and Technology, Brown University, the Cambridge Innovation Center, Johnson & Johnson, and members of the public to break ground on the Wexford Innovation Complex. The projects, which are being constructed on former I-195 land in the heart of Providence’s Innovation and Design District, will generate approximately $100 million in additional revenues to the State over the next 20 years.
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The Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) (63,000 square feet), Brown University’s School of Professional Studies (50,000 square feet), and Johnson & Johnson (31,000 square feet) will be tenants in the nearly 195,000-square-foot Innovation Building. Construction is expected to take approximately two years.

«For too long, the I-195 land was nothing but dirt,» Raimondo said. «Today marks the start of something transformational, not just for this land, but for our state and its economy. This complex will become the epicenter of Rhode Island’s resurgence, creating jobs at every rung of the ladder, from janitors to PhD computer scientists. We’ve worked hard for this, and we are finally seeing the results of our efforts. Wexford, Cambridge Innovation Center, Johnson & Johnson, Brown University and others are making an investment in Rhode Island because we are making crucial, forward-thinking investments in our people and in our economy. This is just the beginning.»

«I would like to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make this project a reality to move our economy forward,» said U.S. Senator Reed. «It is great to see companies like the Cambridge Innovation Center and Johnson & Johnson, and a great institution like Brown University come together to help jumpstart investment and job growth here in the fast-growing science and technology fields. With Rhode Island’s outstanding universities and hospitals, we must continue doing everything we can to position the state to be a hub for growth in the research, medical, and biotech industries.»

«The Providence Innovation Campus is now on the path to becoming a flagship Rhode Island institution,» said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. «It is my hope that this vacant land will be transformed into a launching place for Rhode Islanders seeking great jobs, boosted by the talent of our world-class universities and the energy of entrepreneurship in Rhode Island.»

«The vacant parcels of land in Providence where I-195 once stood will soon become a bustling hub of activity where entrepreneurs, students, and visitors can share knowledge and build the businesses of tomorrow,» said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin. «This project will create jobs, foster new business development, and help anchor the growth of the Innovation & Design District. I commend Governor Raimondo for her efforts propelling Rhode Island forward and encouraging exciting new opportunities downtown.»

«Transforming the I-195 land through high-tech development will allow Rhode Islanders to secure better jobs and better wages in a wide range of industries,» said U.S. Congressman David Cicilline. «The Wexford project means a massive investment in the city of Providence that will benefit local businesses and working people. This area has long been the hub for important industries, like jewelry-making and textiles, that have thrived across our state, and this development positions Rhode Islanders to continue to benefit from the growth of advanced industries that will define the 21st century economy.»

«I am pleased that Governor Raimondo, the General Assembly and the Commerce Corporation worked collaboratively to create the economic environment and appropriate incentives to assist Wexford in building this innovation center,» said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello. «The hard work and execution by the Commerce Corporation has resulted in high-tech, high-paying jobs that will hopefully lead to many more companies investing in Rhode Island.»

«Innovative companies like Wexford are exactly what we envisioned when we created the 195 Commission,» said Senate President Ruggerio. «Their work will help new companies grow and create jobs for Rhode Islanders, and their presence will help attract additional, innovative companies to the area.»

«Providence continues its resurgence with the groundbreaking of the Wexford project,» said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. «People are investing in Providence because we have amazing institutions and assets. This is another significant step that our city and state are taking to make us a hub for innovation and leaders in the new economy.»

«Wexford’s project has the potential to advance our state’s economy in significant ways — fostering innovation, spurring growth, and building opportunity for all Rhode Islanders,» said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. «This project will become the catalytic centerpiece of our revitalized I-195 Innovation & Design District. It represents the culmination of the very hard work of many including our visionary Governor, Gina Raimondo; leaders at the I-195 Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation; the teams at Wexford Science & Technology, Ventas, CIC, Brown University, and Johnson & Johnson; and state, city, and federal elected leaders. I congratulate these partners on reaching this critical milestone.»

«Wexford Science and Technology is excited that our work in Providence will become more visible as we begin vertical construction of the first Innovation Building, anchored by Brown University, CIC, and Johnson and Johnson.» said James Berens, President and CEO of Wexford Science and Technology. «This represents another step forward in the development of a dynamic Knowledge Community that brings together intellectual capital, innovation and infrastructure to create a center of gravity and congregation that can give a sense of place to the growing innovation and entrepreneurial activities taking place in Providence and across Rhode Island.»

«We are extremely pleased to be bringing CIC to Providence. CIC Providence will be an exciting addition to our family of urban innovation hubs,» said CIC President Brian Dacey. «The visionary leadership of Governor Raimondo, the 195 Commission, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and their teams, along with Wexford Science and Technology, and Ventas brought us here today. We are looking forward to sharing this dynamic new building with Brown University and Johnson & Johnson, two phenomenal partners in accelerating innovation in Providence. Our common goal is to make this building the epicenter of the Providence innovation ecosystem.»

In addition to the 66,000 square feet in the Innovation Complex, CIC also is planning to locate an 8,000-square-foot Innovation Hall and Venture Cafe-dedicated civic spaces that are modeled after CIC’s highly successful District Hall in the Seaport District of Boston, where the innovation community can gather and exchange ideas.

As an anchor tenant for the Innovation Complex, Brown University will continue its investment in the Jewelry District and create a new home for its School of Professional Studies. The school offers an array of world-class executive master’s programs, including an executive MBA, that enroll accomplished professionals from around the globe who travel to Providence for one- and two-week residency experiences during their studies. In addition to creating an expanded student presence in the Jewelry District, a new home for the School of Professional Studies will allow for additional academic programs, significant enrollment growth in existing programs, and the potential for collaboration between CIC startups and Brown student, faculty and alumni entrepreneurs.

«Brown is excited to become an anchor tenant for the Innovation Center, which promises to propel Providence and Rhode Island’s development in research, education and business,» said Brown University President Christina Paxson. «This is precisely the kind of partnership that brings out the best of Brown – advancing knowledge in ways that spur innovation and engage scholars, industry leaders and entrepreneurs at the intersection of research, commerce and the public good.»

Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, with approximately 132,500 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson operating companies worldwide.

«Rhode Island is a great home for our Johnson & Johnson Health Technology Center, with a strong network of universities, industry and decision makers that are advancing work at the intersection of health and technology,» said Maureen Boudreau, Director of the Health Technology Center for Johnson & Johnson. «The Providence Innovation Center will help foster collaboration and a sense of community in a steadily growing innovation corridor in Rhode Island. We are swiftly scaling our operations with employees focused on highly technical technology roles, and are excited to be an active member of this community within the Ocean State.»

The total cost of the Providence Innovation Center is expected to amount to approximately 88 million. The project is receiving $18.8 million in incentives from the 195 Redevelopment Fund and $13.5 million in net Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits. The Providence Innovation Center itself will create over 675 direct and indirect construction jobs and lead to over 800 direct and indirect ongoing jobs, according Appleseed Inc, a third party economic analysis firm.

«The leadership and active support of Governor Raimondo and Secretary Pryor as well as the General Assembly have been a critical for the success to date of the I- 195 Redevelopment Commission,» said 195 Commission Chairman Joe Azrack. None of this would have been possible without the economic Incentives proposed by the Governor and passed by the legislature. The former 195 land is now being transformed into a vibrant mixed use development. The Innovation Center as the first phase of this development will spur further economic and real estate development in the Providence Innovation and Design District and throughout the metro area.»

«This Wexford closing represents an important milestone for the Commission not just because it’s our first closing but more so because it’s perfectly aligned with the Commission’s economic development objectives,» said 195 Commission Executive Director Pete McNally. «CIC’s track record along with Wexford’s in catalyzing and incubating early stage companies is impressive and proven in other markets. To make this happen, the Commission had at its disposal incentive capital that that allowed us to target these endeavors. This is a significant confidence building step for those companies who are looking closely at new development and doing business in the PIDD.»

«Today’s groundbreaking for the Wexford Innovation Complex signals a new era for the Jewelry District,» said Sharon Steele, Vice President of the Jewelry District Association. «Wexford has delivered this transformative moment for our neighborhood, which is something we both hoped for and needed to re-invent our District. This will be a place where we can provide a vibrant center for discovery. It will also be a place to live, work & play, a bridge from our industrial past to the innovation of our future, where our quality of life is second to none, where Providence once again is a leader in the world.»