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Proposed Project in Providence, R.I., Includes Adjacent Brown University Property

Mon May 15, 2023 - Northeast Edition #11
Brown University


A new proposed project in Providence includes an adjacent property owned by Brown to create a long-term master planning opportunity that would feature an economically beneficial mix of uses and provide important city tax revenue. (Brown University rendering)
A new proposed project in Providence includes an adjacent property owned by Brown to create a long-term master planning opportunity that would feature an economically beneficial mix of uses and provide important city tax revenue. (Brown University rendering)

A proposed project on former Interstate 195 land in Providence, R.I., includes an adjacent property owned by Brown University to create a long-term plan that would feature an economically beneficial mix of commercial and residential use.

Additionally, it could provide important city tax revenue and support the goals of Rhode Island leaders for the former I-195 footprint.

In April, Boston's CV Properties shared its plans for a 149-unit residential building as the first mainstay for the redevelopment of 195 Parcels 14/15. The proposal also outlines plans for an adjacent parcel of land owned by Brown, creating the opportunity for up to 500,000 sq. ft. of mixed-use development.

With a design that incorporates first floor retail, cultural and restaurant uses, the 11-story residential building will anchor the street level experience of a new plaza that would connect spaces created in later phases of the primary plan, according to Brown University.

The complete, phased project will enhance the pedestrian experience of the park and riverfront, the school said, while connecting to the surrounding Providence neighborhood. The plaza next to the residential building is also envisioned to offer an important pathway between the park and Dyer Street, as well as an opportunity for community programming.

"This phased project offers immediate housing benefits and long-term potential to significantly advance the economic development, land use, and job creation goals of both the 195 Commission and the City of Providence," explained Richard Galvin, founder, and president of CV Properties. "Together with Brown University, we are able to create a more holistic parcel that has flexibility to support this mix of uses. I am grateful to Brown for [its] partnership and [its] vision for an improved public experience in the 195 District and nearby neighborhoods."

Project's Outline Presented to Local Commission

Representatives from CV Properties presented their plans for the project to the 195 Redevelopment District Commission during the body's April 19 meeting. Part of the company's proposal was a letter of support Brown sent to the commission noting the university's endorsement of the project.

"As a close neighbor to these 195 parcels, we recognize the opportunity they offer to create better connections between this growing area of Providence and public assets like the park and waterfront, enhance the value of the neighborhood for all who work, live, learn, play, and relax in the area, and expand access to housing and jobs for Rhode Islanders," the letter read.

The project presented was a combination of Parcels 14 and 15 of the I-195 Redevelopment District and the adjacent Brown University property at 198-200 Dyer St.

The two parcels are subject to I-195 Development Plan zoning, which includes a building height limit of 130 ft. and no parking minimum, according to Caroline Skuncik, executive director of the District.

The adjacent land included in CV Properties' proposal will need to meet Providence city zoning requirements, and structures will have a height limit of 100 ft. Additionally, Skuncik explained, the property will have a potential 30-ft. bonus if "public benefits" such as active ground uses, publicly accessible open space and structured parking are provided. The downtown city zoning area also has no parking minimum.

Providence's Underutilized I-195 Site to Be Reborn

Among the project's major features would be rich gardens and landscaping, designed to maximize climate resiliency at the elevated site areas, Brown University noted. The top of the building includes a green roof and rooftop amenity deck. The proposed residential project would have immediate economic benefits, including the creation of 375 construction jobs and nearly 30 permanent jobs.

The broader long-term plan would incorporate the 198-200 Dyer St. site owned by Brown, currently home to a two-story building used for administrative offices and parking. Bundling the Brown site with Parcels 14/15 offers the potential to create over a half-million sq. ft. of total development in phases, including more than 400,000 sq. ft. of planned commercial office and laboratory uses.

Together with the initial residential project and retail/restaurant uses, the redevelopment effort would improve a currently underutilized site and create the potential for more than 1,500 additional construction jobs and 1,600 high-skill permanent jobs. In addition, the multi-phase commercial project would likely provide important tax revenue to Providence, support city and state development goals for the former I-195 land and play a powerful role in advancing the economic well-being of the region and its residents.

Another Major Investment for Brown University

For Brown, providing its land for CV Properties' long-term plan would add to $341 million in investments to date that the prestigious university has made in the Providence's Jewelry District, now home to significant academic, research, administrative and residential space.

Brown's investments have brought new life to the neighborhood, sparked public-private partnerships that led to the development of its most prominent projects — including South Street Landing, developed by CV Properties in collaboration with Wexford Science + Technology — and helped to attract Ancora L&G, the Cambridge Innovation Center and many other private partners to the state.

"As a close neighbor to these I-195 parcels, we recognize the opportunity they offer to create better connections between this growing area of Providence and public assets like the park and waterfront, enhance the value of the neighborhood for all who work, live, learn, play and relax in the area, and expand access to housing and jobs for Rhode Islanders," said Russell Carey, executive vice president of planning and policy at Brown.

"The 195 Commission has been an outstanding advocate for maximizing these spaces to improve the lives of local residents, and we look forward to the opportunity to play an additional role in achieving this important objective."




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