PROVIDENCE, RI- Governor Gina M. 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 officially open the Wexford Innovation Complex.
"The Wexford Innovation Center is a 196,000-square-foot physical symbol of our progress," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Over the last four years, we've brought dozens of new businesses to Rhode Island and created thousands of good-paying jobs. Today, what was once nothing but dirt becomes an integral part of our capital city's Innovation & Design District."
The CIC, Brown University and Johnson & Johnson are anchor tenants in the 196,000-square-foot building located at 225 Dyer Street. The center will also house Venture Café and its District Hall. The complex linchpins other developments in the area including South Street Landing, the pedestrian bridge spanning the Providence River, new housing developments such as River House and Chestnut Commons, and the Garrahy Courthouse parking garage. Additionally, other I-195 parcels are in various stages of the development and review processes.
"As the catalytic centerpiece of the I-195 District's redevelopment, this project is the culmination of years of collective planning, effort, and investment, and it has the potential to positively impact our state's economy for generations to come," said Rhode Island Secretary Stefan Pryor. "We thank the visionary leadership of Governor Gina Raimondo, our state, city, and federal elected leaders, officers of the I-195 Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and the teams at Wexford Science & Technology and their tenants for all they have done to make this opening possible. We look forward to the advancements and innovations that emerge out of this complex and enter our state's economy in the form of patents, licenses, products, businesses, jobs, and economic opportunities for Rhode Islanders."
The total cost of the Innovation Center is approximately $88 million. The project will receive $18.8 million in incentives from the 195 Redevelopment Fund and $15 million in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits.
"Since breaking ground on this project almost two years ago, we have seen an incredible transformation in the Providence Innovation & Design District, from the completion of the River House apartment project and the redevelopment of Davol Square just down the street, to an incredible waterfront park and several new planned projects on former I-195 land," said Jim Berens, Chief Executive Officer of Wexford Science & Technology. "We believe that this new project, which we have named Point225, will represent the epicenter of innovation activity within the Providence Innovation & Design District. We look forward to continuing to work with Brown University, the State of Rhode Island, and the City of Providence in developing this dynamic Knowledge Community."
"Thanks to the hard work of so many, especially Governor Raimondo, we are excited to officially call 225 Dyer Street home," said Brian Dacey, president and managing director of CIC. "For two decades, CIC has supported thousands of companies with flexible, shared office space, and innovative programming, designed to help them thrive and grow. We look forward to welcoming our first set of clients to CIC Providence in August and doing our part to strengthen Rhode Island's economy."
Brown's anchor tenancy in the Innovation Center advances its commitment to collaborative growth and economic development in the Jewelry District, where the University has invested more than $225 million over the past decade. Projects including Warren Alpert Medical School and South Street Landing have played a key role in attracting new partners to Rhode Island and bringing new life to a neighborhood now home to 1,600 Brown faculty, students and staff who work, teach and conduct research each day. Brown's School of Professional Studies, Gateways to Medicine, Health Care and Research program, and Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs will now call the Innovation Center home, extending that commitment to the next level.
"For Rhode Island, Providence, Wexford, Brown and all of our partners in the Innovation Center, this is a moment to celebrate," said Brown University President Christina Paxson. "Opening the doors to 225 Dyer Street not only advances one step further the Jewelry District's transformation into a thriving hub for research, education, innovation and commerce, but also serves as a blueprint for the essential public and private partnership that will continue to bring new economic life to the city and state in the years ahead."
"As the Commission continues to guide the development of the Innovation & Design District with the goal of contributing to the economic vitality of this area, it is especially gratifying to welcome Wexford and its tenants to their new building," said Robert Davis, Chair of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. "We are excited to move forward with several additional projects in the neighborhood and are confident that these new developments will be good next steps in the effort to generate the level of economic activity envisioned when the highways were moved."
"Providence is joining other elite cities across the country and the world by welcoming these preeminent institutions to the heart of our thriving and vibrant downtown," said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. "This project will not only facilitate greater open, cross-sector exchanges that promote innovation across our public and private realms but will also help to grow the local and regional economy while boosting our reputation as one of the best places to live, work and visit."
"Today has been a long time coming, and we are very excited it has arrived," said President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio. "Innovative companies like Wexford and CIC are exactly what we envisioned when we created the 195 Commission. Their work will help new companies grow and create jobs here, and their presence will help attract additional companies to the area. This state-of-the-art facility will be a catalyst to bringing new industries to the state and creating jobs here in Providence."
"The Wexford Innovation Center represents the fruition of years of work and will serve as a catalyst for future renewal, as it draws more businesses and more activity downtown," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
"Today marks one of the biggest milestones yet for the I-195 project that has been decades in the making," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "The Wexford Complex will be a new signature for the Jewelry District and the anchor of Rhode Island's innovation economy. Well done to Governor Raimondo and everyone who had a hand in getting this project over the finish line."
"The Wexford Innovation Complex will serve as a hub for education and commerce in the heart of Providence's Innovation and Design District," said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin. "This new facility, anchored by three strong founding tenants, will create hundreds of jobs and invigorate the local economy. I applaud Governor Raimondo, Mayor Elorza and all of the public and private partners who made today's opening possible."
"Whether it's business, education, or nonprofit work, there is nothing more important than establishing Rhode Island as a place of opportunity for everyone," said U.S. Congressman David Cicilline. "I'm proud of the work we have done at the federal, state, and local levels to create an environment that helps these organizations succeed. The opening of this facility where people will have access to good-paying jobs to put food on the table and reinvest in our economy is another example of seeing our hard work pay off."