PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – From the massive life-sciences complex on the former I-195 land to a small expansion of a metal company near the port of Providence, Mayor Jorge Elorza says Rhode Island’s capital city will see between $500 million and $700 million in new construction in 2016.
In his State of the City address last week, Elorza said the city expects more than 30 “major construction projects” to break ground this year, part of a once-in-a-generation boom that could provide a significant boost to the city’s coffers through new tax and permitting revenue.
So where are these new projects located?
While some actually broke ground last year and at least one isn’t expected to start until 2017, here’s an overview of the projects Elorza is highlighting.
Wexford Science + Technology and CV Properties LLC complex (phase 1)
150 Richmond Street
Estimated Cost: $200 million
By far the biggest project, the 500,000-square-foot mixed-use development is expected to be the crown jewel of the I-195 land. The first phase of the project is expected to include an innovation center, lab and office space and a hotel and residential complex, according to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. While actual construction won’t begin until early 2017, a purchase and sale agreement has been signed and the developers will likely obtain building permits this year. The city of Providence must still approve a tax-stabilization agreement for the project, but a new ordinance that guarantees tax breaks for construction on the former highway land should make this process go smoothly.
South Street Landing342 Eddy Street, 350 Eddy Street, 360 Eddy StreetEstimated Cost: $92 million
This includes the conversion of the 265,000-square foot South Street Power Station into the University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island College nursing education center and administrative offices for Brown University as well as a nearby 174-unit apartment building, a parking garage and the relocation of a National Grid substation. The garage and the nursing center are expected to be completed by the end of the year. The city has already signed off on a 15-year tax-stabilization agreement for the project that will generate $9.9 million in property taxes over the life of the deal.
Brown School of Engineering170 Hope Street Estimated Cost: $68 million
This 80,000-square-foot project broke ground in October 2015 and is expected to open in 2018. The three-story structure “will include specialized facilities for nanoscale and biomedical engineering, along with two full floors of new lab space designed to expand cross-disciplinary research aimed at addressing the world’s critical problems and challenges,” according to a Brown University press release. It will likely be tax-exempt.Providence Journal building/parking lot conversation75 Fountain Street, 78 Fountain Street
Estimated Cost: $48 million
Prominent local developer Arnold “Buff” Chace partnered with Massachusetts-based Nordblom Company to purchase the Providence Journal building and two nearby parking lots in 2015. Chace has said that several restaurant or retail tenants will be located on the first floor and the newspaper will remain in the building. The City Council is currently considering a 12-year tax stabilization agreement for the owners.Fogarty building hotel133 Fountain Street Estimated Cost: $40 million
The Cranston-based Procaccianti Group plans to build a 150-room extended-stay hotel in place of the long-vacant Fogarty building, located next door to the Providence Journal building. Under a tax-stabilization agreement with the city, the project will generate about $2.6 million in property taxes over 12 years.
Garrahy Garage181 Dorrance StreetEstimated Cost: $40 million
This multi-level parking garage adjacent to the Garrahy Judicial Complex (District Court) is expected to include 1,000 parking spaces. The R.I. Convention Center Authority is borrowing $43 million to pay the construction, according to the Providence Journal. (For more on parking in Providence, read this report from the Providence Business News.)Providence College Business School1 Cunningham Square Estimated Cost: $30 million
This 64,000-square-foot facility broke ground in October 2015 and is expected to open in the spring of 2017. A press release issued by the college stated that building “will include a glass atrium entrance, classrooms, conference rooms, computer labs, collaboration rooms, interview suites, and a student café.” It will likely be tax-exempt.Flynn School conversion220 Blackstone Street Estimated Cost: $30 million
City officials haven’t named a buyer for the former elementary school, which has been closed since 2011, but it is expected to be converted to medical offices. The Providence Redevelopment Agency has regularly included updates on the building in recent meeting agendas. The $1.4-million sale of the school was originally included in the fiscal year 2014-15 budget, but it was never completed.
Capitol Cove80 Smith StreetEstimated Cost: $25 million
This is the second phase of the Capitol Cove project in Capital Center. (It has been renamed The Commons at Providence Station.) According to Greater City Providence, “the project will consist of 169 units of residential apartments, approximately 169 enclosed parking spaces, as well as amenity areas, leasing office, and community space.” The developers have a tax-stabilization agreement with the city.Capital Center Hotel5 Exchange Street
Estimated Cost: $20 million
This will be an eight-story, 120-unit extended-stay hotel located on the “triangular lot at Memorial Boulevard and Steeple Street,” according to The Providence Journal. The developers are not seeking a tax-stabilization agreement from the city.
McInnis Cement39 New York AvenueEstimated Cost: $20 million
This is a Canadian cement company that plans to open at ProvPort off of Allens Avenue. McInnis claims it will be “capable of producing 2.2 million metric tons of cement a year,” according to the Providence Business News. The company has a 12-year tax-stabilization agreement proposal currently in front of the City Council Finance Committee.Providence College basketball practice facility1 Cunningham Square Estimated Cost: $15 million
This two-story building will be attached to the college’s Alumni Hall and will include a “basketball practice facility and space for associated department of athletics activities,” according to a press release. Construction is expected to begin this year and be completed by the summer of 2017. It will likely be tax-exempt.
Providence Water Supply Board headquarters125 Dupont Drive Estimated Cost: $12 million
The Water Supply Board plans to borrow up to $39 million to relocate from its current location on Academy Avenue to a 16.5-acre building located in an industrial park near the Mashapaug Pond. The board has already purchased the property, formerly owned by Bank of America, for about $10 million and will begin renovations in 2016. While the funding for the project will come from ratepayers – Providence Water provides water to 60% of the state’s population – the building will end up on the city’s tax roll.
Residential conversion429 Valley StreetEstimated Cost: $10 million
There are few details available regarding this project, but it appears to be a residential conversion of a building that begins at the corner of Valley Street and River Avenue. It was once part of the American Locomotive Works campus and was acquired by Foundry Associates L.P. in 2013.Mixed-use project on I-195 land39 Pike Street
Estimated Cost: $8 million
This is parcel 8 on the former I-195 land. Royal Oaks Realty Ventures has proposed a “seven-story tower on the new land, with a total of 75,000 square-feet of space, including 20,000 square feet of office space, and 4,500 square feet of retail, and 45 to 50 rental apartments,” according to the Providence Business News. The developer is expected to seek a tax-stabilization agreement from the city.WaterFire building475 Valley Street Estimated Cost: $6.5 million
This 27,000-square-foot warehouse is being converted to WaterFire’s headquarters and a multi-use art center. It is expected to be completed in 2016.Roger Williams Hospital expansion825 Chalkstone Avenue Estimated Cost: $6.5 million
Announced in 2015, this includes the expansion and renovation of the emergency department at the Roger Williams Medical Center as well as the construction of a new lobby and entrance at the facility. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.Louttit Laundry Redevelopment93 Cranston Street Estimated Cost: $5 million
This multi-story building on the city’s South Side will include ground-floor commercial space and 30 to 45 apartments on the upper floors, according to The Providence Journal.Brown University Watson CenterThayer Street Estimated Cost: $5 million
This project will include the expansion of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs to include an additional 20,000-square-foot building. It is being paid for with a $50-million gift from three longtime supporters of the institute, according to a press release. It will likely be tax-exempt.New retail/commercial development249 Thayer Street Estimated Cost: $4 million
Details about this project are vague, but it’s on property that formerly housed the Tedeschi Food Shops store on Thayer Street.
Rhode Island College renovations600 Mount Pleasant AvenueEstimated Cost: $4 million
This project includes the renovation of the John Fogarty Life Sciences building on the Rhode Island College campus. It will include “upgraded plumbing and electrical systems, new laboratory casework and specialized equipment,” according to The Providence Journal.Residential conversion95 Chestnut Street Estimated Cost: $3.5 million
This 57,000-square-foot, six-story building in the Jewelry District is being converted to apartments and will include space for a restaurant. One of its owners is Zachary Darrow, a well-known Providence attorney who regularly negotiates tax-stabilization agreements for clients in front of the City Council. The building has a pre-existing tax break from the city.Moses Brown Library250 Lloyd Avenue Estimated Cost: $2.8 million
This project is the renovation of the Walter Jones Library, a three-story, 11,000-square-foot building located on the Moses Brown campus. The building will include “an open area with moveable soft seating, flexile tables and seating for table-based teaching, a laptop bar, and space for quiet reading,” according to one of the developers. It will likely be tax-exempt.Cox Communications108 Douglas Avenue Estimated Cost: $2.5 million
Details on this project are unclear, but the city is calling it an “addition” to the cable company’s footprint.Grace Episcopal Church renovation175 Mathewson Street Estimated Cost: $2 million
The church started its exterior renovation in 2015 and also plans to expand into a new building, according to the Providence Business News. It will likely be tax-exempt.Community Prep148 Prairie Ave Estimated Cost: $2 million
The project is the expansion of the private elementary/middle school on the city’s South Side.Betaspring, Founders League91 Clemence Street Estimated Cost: $1.6 million
Owned by Arnold “Buff” Chace, the downtown building will be the new home of startup accelerator Betaspring and the Founders League, which provides work space for entrepreneurs.Ferguson Perforating Company55 Johnson Street Estimated Cost: $1 million
Details on this project are vague, but the city calls it an “addition” to the metal manufacturing company’s facility.