Development team claims I-195 Redevelopment District parcels, plans $250M initial project

HERE IS A rendering of the three-phased project that will include more than 1 million square feet of development. / COURTESY I-195 REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
HERE IS A rendering of the three-phased project that will include more than 1 million square feet of development. / COURTESY I-195 REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

PROVIDENCE – A development team with national prominence has agreed to purchase two parcels of the I-195 Redevelopment District, as well as adjacent sites, and develop what is anticipated to be a 1.1-million square-foot mixed-use and bioscience center.
The life sciences project will be completed in three phases, with construction of the initial phase expected to exceed $250 million. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017.
CV Properties LLC and Wexford Science & Technology LLC signed a purchase and sale agreement for the two I-195 parcels on Thursday, according to Joseph F. Azrack, chairman of the I-195 commission.
The purchase price will be set under a complicated formula based on a phased purchase of what will be three subdivided lots covering both the I-195 land and the adjacent parcels, at 1 Ship St. and 60 Clifford St.
But the expectation is the purchase price for the first phase, based on the expected size, will be $6.6 million, according to Dyana Koelsch, a spokeswoman for the I-195 commission. The total purchase price, for all of the land, is expected to reach $13 million, she said.
Developers will seek state incentives, but the amount and nature were not specified in the purchase and sale documents. The project also will seek a tax stabilization agreement with the city of Providence.
Up to $25 million is available in state incentives for the I-195 district exclusively, under a budget adopted by the General Assembly last year. The funds would also be available for development on the adjacent parcels identified by the development team.
The proposed life sciences and mixed use development will include a 495,400-square-foot development in the first phase, which will feature an office and laboratory building, a mixed-use center with a hotel, meeting space and residential units, including either rental apartments or condominiums.
The second and third phases, of 275,000-square-feet and 250,000-square-feet respectively, are expected to include three additional office and laboratory buildings, according to the purchase and sale documents released by the commission Friday.
Brown University is expected to be an anchor partner in the development, according to its president.
Wexford Science & Technology, partnering with CV Properties on the development, has a national reputation for building innovation centers near universities. This would be its first project in Rhode Island.
A 90-day due-diligence period now commences, in preparation for a closing on the land in the first phase. The developers have told the commission that they expect to purchase the two adjacent and privately held parcels before the first phase closing.
As part of the development, the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority agrees to build a 1,250-space parking garage, known as the Garrahy Garage, of which at least 400 spaces will be set aside for the Phase I portion of the bioscience development. Another 500 spaces would be needed for the latter phases, according to the purchase and sale agreement.
In a statement, CV Properties President Richard Galvin said he was pleased to have reached agreement with the commission. “This is an exciting development and a critical step that will enable us to intensify the work of recruiting the tenants needed to make our proposed life sciences complex a reality. We’re hopeful that our work will be successful and allow us to realize the vision we share with the governor and others in leveraging the former I-195 land to help spur growth in the innovation community, including the promising life sciences sector, while also creating new job opportunities for Rhode Islanders,” he said.
Announcement of the execution of the purchase and sale agreement drew praise from state and business leaders on Friday.
In a statement, Brown University President Christina Paxson said university officials were excited at the development.
“The prospect of being an anchor partner in the development of a life sciences complex aligns with Brown’s plans to house a translational science facility in the Jewelry District,” she said. “Brown plans to invest in facilities for research and teaching in areas of science that intersect with commercial enterprise.”

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