Rhode Island

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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!

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?