The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) and its partners awarded contracts to the BETA Group, Inc., of Lincoln, R.I., and add(ventures) of Providence, R.I., in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a market analysis and a branding and marketing plan for the Warwick Station Development District.
"We must continue to capitalize on our existing economic assets to position Rhode Island for lasting success and prosperity," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "Warwick Station is one of the state's key infrastructure and transit-oriented economic growth centers. Identifying the best ways to market the development opportunities that exist there is an important building block as we collaborate to form a mixed-use, intermodal gateway to Rhode Island and New England."
"The Warwick Station Development District is a signature project that will revitalize and redefine the neighborhood surrounding the airport and the InterLink," said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. "Development of a strong, thoughtful marketing strategy that showcases the District's distinctive multimodal characteristics and its myriad live/work opportunities will be vitally important to its success as well as job creation for Rhode Island. We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to create a plan that will attract quality developers who share and appreciate the City's unique vision for the District."
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) applied for a Transportation Community System Preservation grant from the Federal Highway Administration and received $400,000 to promote economic development at Warwick Station. The City of Warwick has adopted a master plan for the Warwick Station Development District, anchored by the $267 million InterLink Complex, and the 1,200-foot elevated skywalk that connects the complex to the T.F. Green Airport – offering commuter rail and bus service as well as rental car facilities.
"Across the country, commuter rail systems have been a proven catalyst for not only mitigating congestion on our highways, but promoting economic development," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said.
The RFP outlined three tasks the bidding firms would need to complete:
Market segmentation analysis is the first task, which was awarded to the BETA Group. BETA Group will lead the effort with support from CWS Consulting Group LLC of Newton, MA, and The Williams Group of Amherst, MA, to generate the market analysis. They will identify industry sectors and users that will best capitalize on the existing intermodal infrastructure as part of a mixed-use, transit-oriented development and growth center ideally situated along the high-traffic Northeast corridor and define the unique selling points to these industries to meet their customized needs. The BETA Group team started work on January 4th and is projected to provide a draft report by late February.
Providence, R.I.-based (add)ventures was awarded the contract to facilitate public outreach to bring together multiple stakeholders to identify factors that will influence the development of a successful brand and market identity for Warwick Station. A draft report is due in April. (add)ventures will also develop and implement a direct marketing plan based on the findings from the first two tasks.
"The Warwick Station Development District is an ideal place to create a mixed-use, transit-oriented development and growth center situated along the high-traffic Northeast corridor," said William Parsons, RIEDC Managing Director, Business Services and Community Development. "The City of Warwick's Master Plan establishes a clear vision for the design and further build-out of one of the region's key commercial and transportation hubs, and now with these additional resources in place, we will be able to take the next critical step of working with our municipal, state and community partners to effectively market the area to prospective investors and developers."
Multiple parcels in and around the district are currently being permitted, including an Intermodal Business Center, fully permitted for 500,000 square feet. Phase I calls for an initial 120,000 square feet of office space; future phases plan for a parking garage, a 320-room hotel and 420,000 square feet of additional office space.