Today's "Cranes In The Sky"

The spotlighting of cranes in the Providence skyline continues with this installment: a $20 million eight-story extended stay Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel project.  The developer is First Bristol Corp., led by veteran hotelier James Karam.

The building site sits at the confluence of Exchange Terrace, Steeple Street and Memorial Blvd. in the city's Capital Center District.  The lot, itself, is uniquely compact and triangular which necessitated design finesse and architectural creativity to ensure vibrant, street-level interaction.  The project got underway in earnest this summer.

firstbristol.png

With 120 suites being offered, the hotel's target market is upscale professionals who require housing for longer than a few days.  The Providence region is  fertile ground for such an audience given the density of local colleges, universities and hospitals. 

IMG_4837.JPG
Homewood Suites by Hilton at the intersection of Steeple Street and Memorial Blvd. in Providence.

Homewood Suites by Hilton at the intersection of Steeple Street and Memorial Blvd. in Providence.

First Bristol Corporation, a leading Real Estate Development and Management firm based in Massachusetts, was selected by Hilton Hotels Worldwide as the National Developer of the Year for its Homewood Suites by Hilton Brand.

Karam started First Bristol Corporation 35 years ago, and has built the family business into one of New England’s premier real estate development and management companies. 

 

 

 

Crane Spotting!

I said I was on a mission! That mission is tracking down all the exciting new construction projects underway throughout Rhode Island and explaining what's being built.  Yes, there are, in fact, lots of "cranes in the sky," and the stories surrounding these projects are quite interesting. The common denominator is that none of these projects would be occurring if investors weren't confident that the economy in Rhode Island is on the upswing.

The Edge College Hill in Providence, located 169 Canal Street

The Edge College Hill in Providence, located 169 Canal Street

In my earlier posts, I spotlighted Wexford Science and Technology's groundbreaking on the former Route 195 lands in Providence, within the new Innovation and Design District.  Then I set off to the main campus of the University of Rhode Island and poked around the largest building project in their history: the complete remaking of its College of Engineering Complex.

Today,  I am showing you what this "crane in the sky" is working on:

DBVW Architects is working closely with Vision Properties on Edge College Hill, a new mixed-use residential project in downtown Providence at the base of College Hill. Located at 169 Canal Street, this new 15-story high-rise will include 202 micro-loft style apartments and first floor commercial space. Amenities for the residential units include a top floor common room and southwest facing terrace as well as a fitness center and first floor lobby/gathering space.

The Edge College Hill is a perfect project for Providence because of our deep concentration of young millennial talent, as Inc. Magazine recently reported. The region is home to elite colleges and universities where students, faculty and staff are all intensely interested in hip, high-design, affordable housing options.

These modernly furnished apartments will primarily be marketed towards students. Features include over-sized windows, high-end finishes, 9' 7" ceilings, fully equipped kitchens and fold-down beds that tuck into contemporary cabinetry when not in use. Residents will be able to choose from views of the Providence skyline, historic College Hill, and the Rhode Island State House.

the edge.jpg
Artist's rendering (above) and the building site today.

Artist's rendering (above) and the building site today.

169 Canal Street, formerly a surface parking lot, is a long vacant parcel of land that fronts the highly acclaimed Providence River Walk. When completed, this urban, car-free development will play an important role in fostering a more walkable and livable city. In addition to adding significantly to the number of residents living downtown, the project will encourage new businesses such as restaurants and markets to join Providence's already exciting growth.

 

Providence Tops On East Coast For Millennial Talent

risd44.jpg

Why is Providence suddenly turning heads in the race for talent?  Investors like GE Digital, Virgin Pulse, Hasbro, Johnson & Johnson and more are tapping into a plentiful and resourceful workforce. The vibe here is eclectically and fashionably urban. Plus, Providence has lots of swag in these categories, too:

  • design-thinking mindset
  • spectacular foodie scene
  • access to high-speed rail
  • easy to navigate international airport
  • ivy league academic institutions
  • affordability
  • and just plain fun!

But don't take our word for it. Check out this piece from @Inc: See why #Providence is one of the top cities attracting #millennials!

New URI Engineering Complex Coming Along Nicely

It's been about a year since Rhode Island voters bullishly approved Phase II funding to create a gleaming new complex for the University of Rhode Island's College of Engineering --- a $125 million endeavor designed to put our state's flagship research institution at the vanguard, internationally, for engineering and entrepreneurial prowess.  

Eager to see how the project is shaping up, I headed over to campus to take a closer look.  I was thrilled to see teams of construction workers moving earth, burying conduit and pouring concrete. Indeed, they are laying the metaphorical groundwork for the jobs of the future. (Check out some fun facts about the project!)

From the Chamber's vantage point as business builders, it's promising that Rhode Island is responding to market demands for engineering talent. Across the state, several of our world-class institutions of higher education, including Brown University, are investing more than $300 million in sophisticated new infrastructure that will produce high value engineering research and learning facilities. That pace bodes well for Rhode Island's ability to be a prime target for new corporate investment.

URI Engineering.JPG

Pictured here is the project site where the demolition of five antiquated buildings began in the spring and was completed this summer. Sparking the need, the older buildings had not undergone any major improvements in more than 50 years. Consequently, they did not provide the open and flexible teaching, learning and research spaces necessary to adequately prepare engineering students and fully serve faculty members.

Don't underestimate the ubiquitousness of engineering. It's at the heart of most everything in contemporary society: energy, medicine, water, bridges, data, physical structures and more. That's why the sector is growing jobs at such a rapid clip. 

uri2.JPG

URI President David Dooley puts it in perspective: “Increasingly, our engineering students and faculty are not only working in interdisciplinary teams within the College of Engineering, but with students and faculty from across the University in oceanography, health, pharmacy, chemistry, computer science, and business, to name but a few, as well as companies and corporations around the state, region and the world. This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today. Our engineering alumni, students, and faculty have always been essential drivers of innovation and economic development in Rhode Island, and with these new facilities, we know that URI’s role in moving the state forward will be strongly enhanced."

IMG_4720.JPG

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce was proud to be an early champion of the project. We invested time, money and resources in promoting the economic benefits to the state and making the case that access to engineering talent will attract attention from corporations looking to sit alongside URI's demonstrated expertise in undersea robotics, smart building technology and other engineering disciplines. Many Chamber member companies also took up the mantle to make the project a reality: Toray Plastics (America) $2 million: FM Global, $1 million; Taco Inc., $400,000; and an anonymous gift of $2.5 million from a URI alumnus and corporate leader. 

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 3.14.36 PM.png

Ballinger of Philadelphia, is the prime architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, and structural engineer on the project, and the associate architectural firm is Chamber member DBVW of Providence. The construction management firm is Dimeo Construction Co. of Providence.

Congratulations to Chamber Directors Brad Dimeo and David Dooley for their leadership on this essential project to Rhode Island's future. We're looking forward to the ribbon cutting in 2019!

 

More Shovels In The Ground in #PVD

Innovation districts are emerging in the downtowns and midtowns
of cities like Atlanta, Cambridge, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, where advanced research universities, medical complexes, and clusters of tech and creative firms are sparking business expansion as well as residential and commercial growth.  

Now, add Providence to the mix. 

With this week's groundbreaking on the former Route 195 land, business, academic and government leaders are partnering with Wexford Science and Technology to create a grand Innovation Center that will be at forefront of discovery.

20170925_112302.jpg
wexford1.jpg
wexford3.jpg

Wexford CEO Jim Berens emphasized that the $88 million facility will draw the best minds in research, design and commercialization. "We are excited that our work in Providence will become more visible as we begin vertical construction of the first Innovation Building, anchored by Brown University, the Cambridge Innovation Center and Johnson and Johnson. This represents another step forward in the development of a dynamic Knowledge Community 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."

In addition to the 66,000 square feet in the Innovation Complex, CIC also is planning to locate an 8,000-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.

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce has been working for many years to champion an environment in Rhode Island that leverages our amazing assets, including our comprehensive talent base, our world class universities, colleges and hospitals and our innovative businesses. We are confident that progress is accelerating at a rapid pace now.

"Wexford's project has the potential to advance our state's economy in significant ways -- fostering innovation, spurring growth, and building opportunity for all Rhode Islanders," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "This project will become the catalytic centerpiece of our revitalized I-195 Innovation & Design District. It represents the culmination of the very hard work of many including our visionary Governor, Gina Raimondo; leaders at the I-195 Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation; the teams at Wexford Science & Technology, Ventas, CIC, Brown University, and Johnson & Johnson; and state, city, and federal elected leaders. I congratulate these partners on reaching this critical milestone."

Keep the announcements coming!

Think Differently: Innovation Campus Wants Fresh Look

girl-2696947_1920.jpg

 

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Commerce Rhode Island to create a physical space where breakthrough thinking is formally cultivated and funded. And we're looking for the best thinkers in the world. Stand out from the crowd.

Earlier this summer, Commerce RI issued an Invitation for Expressions of Interest to generate initial ideas on how industry and academia can collaborate to build a transformative Innovation Campus (or campuses) in Rhode Island. This competition will ultimately award funds via an RFP from the $20 million bond issuance approved by Rhode Island’s voters. Applications must involve collaboration with research partners including the University of Rhode Island. The inclusion of other national and international universities and medical centers as partners is encouraged.

You can see the requirements here. Note that per the instructions, all submissions should be sent to riinnovationCampus@commerceri.com.  If you have any further questions, please get in touch with our team at RI Innovation Campus

 

 

UPDATE: Software Jobs Open at eMoney

FinTech company eMoney is settling in to their new Providence home at 100 Westminster Street and quickly getting to know the local tech and entrepreneurial community.  “It’s been amazing . Everyone here has been so welcoming,” said HR Director Tessa Raum.  

Tessa shared her staffing plans with us today.  “We’re hiring! We’re looking to bring on 50 new roles by the end of 2017, and more by the end of 2019.” 

emoneypic.jpg

Software engineers and software developers are very much in demand by e-Money, with competitive average salaries. Entry level roles as well as positions with three to five years’ experience are being offered.

The company builds software as a solution in the wealth management sector. Their vision is to “drive innovation in FinTech by creating and delivering technology solutions that help advisors and firms of all sizes achieve greater efficiency, scale, competitive edge, and growth in their businesses.”

Tessa described the culture at eMoney as “Google-like,” with strong emphasis on work/life balance. “We’re serious and passionate about our business. We want our talent to love the people they work with and to add value to our clients.”

eMoney  has been in business for 17 years with 455 employees in LaJolla, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and our partners at Commerce RI have been working with company’s human resources executives in Providence to help link them with local talent from our preeminent colleges and universities. The opportunities are diverse and exciting. 

To learn more about the jobs now available in Rhode Island, check out their hiring site here. 
 

FinTech Firm eMoney Now Sourcing Providence Talent

FinTech firm eMoney is expanding into Providence. The wealth management technology company is opening a new office at 100 Westminster Street, with positions already being filled for the site. 

Located in a 20-story commercial building in the Financial District, the office’s downtown views paired with nearly 7,000 square feet of rented space, provide an atmosphere that is conducive to fostering the collaboration and innovation that eMoney is known for both as an employer and as a leading provider of scalable wealth management technology. 

The new office location stems from the firm’s rapid growth over the last few years and desire to explore a new talent market in the Northeast. 

emoney_img

“This is just the beginning of our journey in Rhode Island,” said Ed O’Brien, CEO of eMoney. “We’re excited to get the office up and running, becoming an integral part of the Providence community and tapping its extensive network of talent. We’re proud to expand our eMoney team so we can continue to innovate and meet the needs of our clients.”

As previously announced by Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation in March, eMoney is committed to bringing 100 full-time jobs to the state by 2020. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce stands ready to assist the firm with its hiring needs.

“We welcome eMoney to their new Providence office,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “With workforce training and economic development as top priorities, we have added 14,000 jobs since taking office, and regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Additions to the state like eMoney show Rhode Island is on the move.”

eMoney already has 10 employees set to work in the Providence office by mid-August, and extensive recruiting efforts are underway to fill open roles in software development, user interface and experience design, software testing and quality engineering, and product management, among others.

“Providence continues to demonstrate that it has the talent, quality of life, and momentum that businesses are looking for,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I’m excited to welcome a fast-growing company like eMoney Advisor to the capital city and wish them success in the years to come.”

eMoney has two other office locations in the U.S. Its corporate headquarters located just outside of Philadelphia in Radnor, Pa., has more than 400 employees on-site serving all areas of the business, including software development, financial planning, security and data services, sales, client engagement, marketing, finance, and human resources, among others. The firm’s West Coast office located in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Ca., is home to approximately 60 employees who work in client engagement, sales and financial planning.

To learn more about eMoney’s open positions in Providence, visit here.

 

Software enabled manufacturing start-ups are dominating

The business environment for entrepreneurial-minded manufacturers is getting a lot of buzz. An explosion of digital tools and services has rocked the manufacturing realm, drawing in computer-assisted design and 3D printing equipment, open-source operating systems and the Internet of Things (IoT). 


A recent article in HBR by Mark Muro of Brookings puts it in perspective:  Innovative “tools, resources, and intermediaries are allowing a new generation of serious entrepreneurs to begin to bridge the worlds of hacker space and industry. As a result, software-enabled manufacturing start-ups are poised to have a large economic impact.”  So, how does Rhode Islander’s famed maker-movement plug into this energy? Engaging young, creative minds is the answer.

 

Governor Raimondo’s Rhode Island Promise Scholarship Program is officially rolling out this academic year, Fall 2017. For prospective students to qualify for RI Promise, they must have just graduated from high school or recently obtained a GED, and they would be eligible for two years at CCRI tuition free.  CCRI is hosting enrollment days on August 10th and 17th – a chance for students to ask questions and enroll for this semester. Rhode Island is the fourth state in the country to offer tuition-free community college, an essential credential for the evolving workforce--- particularly in manufacturing.

 

Rhode Island's efforts to spur workforce development don’t stop there.  Along with being the first state to offer computer science to every child in every public school, Rhode Island partners its high schools and community colleges with local manufacturers to give students industry-specific knowledge, workplace tours, apprenticeships and internships.  Rhode Island also offers student-loan assistance to graduates pursuing a STEM or design career.

 

Looking for a place to start and grow your manufacturing business? Providence's deep roots in manufacturing innovation must be seriously examined. Would you like to learn  more?
 
 

Start-Up Environment In Providence Cheered

Summer is a perfect time of year to see Providence in a new light.

Summer is a perfect time of year to see Providence in a new light.

Good news travels fast. We've had a recent spate of positive media attention highlighting the Providence, Rhode Island entrepreneurial communities. This piece in Crain's Boston talks about our legacy as a maker city and as a recent leader in the social enterprise movement.  Kelly Ramirez from Social Enterprise Greenhouse shares her thoughts on how the movement is catching fire. Providence's world class colleges and universities and young talent pool are the key differentiators drawing attention.

FDi Intelligence magazine, a publication associated with The Financial Times in London, has a well researched feature story highlighting our international prowess in the manufacturing sector and how educational leaders are driving Rhode Island's economic resurgence.

I have been on the road recently, as well, promoting Rhode Island's advantages as a place to do business. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Commerce RI have had a major presence at the Boston Biosciences Leaders Conference, the Social Innovation Summit in Chicago, and BIO International 2017 in San Diego. 

The reaction from business leaders with whom we have met has been consistent: 

  • Rhode Island is definitely on the radar screen for investors. High profile names like GE Digital, Virgin Pulse, Johnson & Johnson, Agoda and Wexford Science & Technology have generated a bit of a curiosity factor. i.e. What's going on in Providence???
  • Our talent pipeline and workforce development strategy is considered smart and unique.
  • Our incentive programs are performance-based and deliver benefits that are most relevant.
  • Rhode Island's business climate is now viewed as increasingly favorable. 

Help us spread the word! If you would like to learn more about Rhode Island as a place to grow and expand your business, reach out to us today.