Brown, RIC, URI partner on Dynamo House project

(Updated, 12:30 p.m.) The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Brown University are pursuing a joint mixed-use re-development of the former South Street Power Station in Providence that would include an advanced nursing school, administrative offices, classrooms and student apartments, Brown announced Thursday. More

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Brown, RIC, URI partner on Dynamo House project

COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/MARC BELANGER
A JOINT PROJECT BETWEEN Brown University, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island could house Brown administrative offices and a joint RIC/URI nursing education center, graduate student housing, retail space, restaurants, and new parking facilities.
Posted 6/27/13

(Updated, 12:30 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Brown University are pursuing a joint mixed-use re-development of the former South Street Power Station in Providence that would include an advanced nursing school, administrative offices, classrooms and student apartments, Brown announced Thursday.

The three schools are partnering with Connecticut-based developer Commonwealth Venture Properties LLC on the project, Brown President Christina H. Paxson said in an email to university community members.

The project is estimated to cost $206 million, according to Brown.

Also known as the Dynamo House, the old brick power station on the Providence River has been vacant since 1999 and exposed to the elements since plans by a Baltimore developer to turn it into a history museum and hotel collapsed in 2008.

Under the concept announced Thursday, Brown would lease around 120,000 square feet of the building for academic and administrative space.

URI and RIC would lease a roughly similar portion of the building for an advanced nursing school that has been a priority of URI President David Dooley as well as state officials and business leaders for years.

The plans also include a 150,000-square-foot apartment building for 296 medical and nursing students next to the power station. The new building would include 15,000-square feet of shops and restaurants on the ground floor and 20,000 square-feet of offices for start-up companies, according to a Brown news release.

A joint resolution of support for the project was submitted to the General Assembly this week and it would also need approval of the State Properties Committee.

According to the resolution, the City of Providence will finance the construction of a 600-space parking garage on the site of a current surface lot off Point Street. The land would be leased by Brown.

Money for the project will come from "previously committed state historic tax credits, new federal historic tax credits, private debt/private equity, and public support for the parking structure," according to the Brown news release.

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras issued statements in support for the project in the press release.

“The proposed project has a number of attractive features,” Paxson said in the email. “Medical education in Rhode Island will be strengthened by placing a first-rate nursing education program across the street from Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School. The Jewelry District will be further revitalized by restoring an iconic Providence landmark to productive use and adding new residential and retail space to the neighborhood.”

Paxson said the project had been endorsed by the Brown Corp. in concept and negotiations for leases, as well as the details of project construction are still to come.

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