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Wexford Innovation Center Moving Forward with Anchor Tenants, Will Bring 1,000+ Jobs to Innovation and Design District

Project Expected to Generate an Additional 100 Million in Revenues to the State over the Next 20 Years

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, in collaboration with Wexford Science and Technology, today announced signed letters of intent to lease space in the Phase 1 Innovation Building to be developed in Providence's Innovation and Design District, also known as the I-195 land. The Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) (66,000 square feet) and Brown University's School of Professional Studies (50,000 square feet) will be the anchor tenants in the planned nearly 191,000-square-foot Innovation Building.

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission has voted to authorize $18.5 million in incentives from the 195 Fund to support the $158 million project. Phase 1 of the Wexford project is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2017 and will directly and indirectly generate over 1,000 construction jobs and over 1,000 permanent jobs. According to an economic impact analysis by the firm Appleseed, this project is expected to generate an additional $100 million in revenues to the state over the next 20 years.

"This project will support more than 1,000 construction jobs, create more than 1,000 permanent, good-paying, advanced industry jobs and spark opportunities for collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of the 195 District," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Rhode Island is on the move and getting attention from the nation's top innovators. Because of the investments we've made to create a talented workforce and the contributions our colleges and universities make every day, Cambridge Innovation Center is planting a flag in our capital city. This development will have a lasting impact on Providence's skyline and the state's economy. I am pleased that Wexford and CV are expanding their footprint in our state and grateful for the work that all of our partners have put into moving this project forward."

"This is an enormously exciting development for Rhode Island," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "This innovation complex will serve as an engine in our economy, fostering and spurring significant business and job growth. We thank the Governor for her laser focus on this project and we're grateful that Wexford, CIC and Brown have taken this very important step forward."

The first phase of the project will also include a 170-room Starwood brand aloft hotel, which is being developed by CV Ventures and will be adjacent to the office and research building.

"CIC and Brown University, the anchor tenants in the Innovation Building, will complement each other while fostering deep innovation that will act as a catalyst for research and development and startups across the entire new Innovation and Design District," said 195 Redevelopment Commission Chairman Joseph Azrack.

"Reaching an agreement on a comprehensive public/private partnership with Wexford and CIC is a critical milestone for 195 and is something the state has been working toward for over a year," said Peter McNally, Executive Director of the I-195 Commission. "One of the primary objectives of the commission and the 195 Fund is to help create high-value industry jobs, and this gets us one step closer. The Wexford Innovation Center and 170-room hotel on our west-side parcels—22 and 25—are a key project in our Innovation and Design District. Together they will house Brown's School of Professional Studies, CIC and provide much-needed Class A inventory necessary to recruit other corporate or innovation organizations. We anticipate that the construction of this project will overlap with the pedestrian bridge and flagship west-side park. All this activity will represent a proof statement for those companies that are considering relocation to our Innovation and Design District."

"Wexford Science and Technology is excited about partnering with the I-195 Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to secure Brown University and CIC as critical anchors of the Innovation Building," said James Berens, President and CEO of Wexford Science and Technology. "This represents a major step forward in the development of a dynamic mixed-use site that brings together intellectual capital, innovation and infrastructure to create a center of gravity and congregation that can give a sense of place to the growing innovation and entrepreneurial activities taking place in Providence and across Rhode Island."

Brown's School of Professional Studies offers an array of world-class executive master's programs, including an executive MBA, that enroll accomplished professionals from around the globe who travel to Providence for one- and two-week residency experiences during their study. In addition to creating an expanded student presence in the Jewelry District, a new home for the School of Professional Studies will allow for additional programs, significant enrollment growth in existing programs, and the potential for collaboration between CIC startups and Brown student, faculty and alumni entrepreneurs.

"From the Warren Alpert Medical School to South Street Landing, Brown's investments in the Jewelry District advance our mission of groundbreaking education and scholarship while also fueling innovation and economic development," said university President Christina Paxson. "By expanding Brown's School of Professional Studies, we aim to drive this commitment even further. The school brings a steady stream of global professionals in business, healthcare, science, technology, cybersecurity and more to Providence. Growth in these programs will contribute to a burgeoning knowledge economy and the establishment of a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood that holds promise for being transformative for our city, state and communities."

CIC is nationally recognized for its success in sparking startups by building large, high-service office and lab facilities. CIC serves 1,400 startup companies, corporate R&D and academic labs. It estimates that 40,000 direct jobs have been created by startups in its Cambridge facility. CIC operates in five cities and is expanding to future-focused cities like Providence.

"CIC is very excited to be moving forward in the process of opening a Rhode Island location," said Tim Rowe, founder and CEO of Cambridge Innovation Center. "With its strong university base and design and arts culture, Providence already has many of the elements that we look for when considering new cities. Our conversations with the community have shown us how much energy and enthusiasm already exist in Rhode Island, and we're looking forward to supporting and growing the local innovation ecosystem."

In addition to the 66,000 square feet in the Innovation Building, CIC also is planning to locate a 9,300-square-foot Innovation Hall and Venture Cafe—dedicated civic spaces that are modeled after CIC's highly successful District Hall in the Seaport District of Boston, where the innovation community can gather and exchange ideas.

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