PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After years of anticipation, the Wexford Innovation Center officially opened it’s doors Wednesday on the former I-195 land.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held outside the building at 225 Dyer St. at 1 p.m. followed by tours of the facility.
The project was first announced four years ago, and officials broke ground on the state-of-the-art innovation center on Dyer St. nearly two years ago.
“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 building is one of the first projects to be completed on the old I-195 land. The 195 Commission and the R.I. Commerce Corporation authorized up to $33.8 million in direct subsidies to help fund the project.
In Fall 2016, Johnson & Wales University opened the first building on land made available through the relocation of I-195, the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation.
An analysis by consulting firm Appleseed suggested the project will generate enough revenue to offset the cost of the subsidy package. Officials expect the complex to generate $100 million in additional revenue for Rhode Island over the next 20 years.
“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 seven-story, $88 million complex is now home to several tenants, including Johnson & Johnson, the Cambridge Innovation Center, and Brown University’s School of Professional Studies.