Rhode Island leads the nation with the largest percentage gain in state construction employment year-over-year. Here's just a sampling of some of the innovation-based development projects in and around Providence that are getting national media attention today.
South Street Landing
South Street Landing is officially open. It's a three-stage $220 million project by CV Properties reconstructing and transforming a former power plant into the world's most advanced nursing education complex. In a unique collaboration, the building houses academic programs and offices of Brown University, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. The building's amenities include sophisticated teaching labs, simulation facilities, as well as a café and restaurant with unobstructed views of the Providence River. The inner core of the building has been painstakingly preserved to give authenticity to the structure's storied past as an "economic generator" of a different sort.
Ventas/Wexford Science + Technology
Wexford Science & Technology LLC, Ventas and developer CV Properties LLC are collaborating in a $158 million first phase of a mixed-use, innovation district and life-sciences center. The project will include a 170-room hotel with event space and a seven-story, 191,000-square-foot Innovation Building.
General Electric is bringing new, advanced industry jobs to Rhode Island with the opening of a GE Digital information technology center. The new Providence-based office is responsible for developing new software applications and driving innovation in High Performance Computing.The unit of GE employs a range of professionals from experienced engineers and data scientists to young professionals with backgrounds in data, design, and IT.
"We needed a place that had a strong tech talent pipeline, top-tier university partnership opportunities and great quality of life. With its unique location along the northeast corridor, Rhode Island gives us access to many of the assets we need for success," said Chris Drumgoole, vice president and chief technology officer.
Cambridge Innovation Center
The famous Kendall Square-based startup hub, Cambridge Innovation Center, is continuing its global expansion with a new location in Providence. CIC is building 66,000 square feet of high quality, flexible office space in the Innovation and Design District. CIC Founder Timothy Rowe says the company sees a lot of opportunity in Providence. “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.” CIC now has centers of world-changing innovators in Cambridge, Boston, St. Louis, Rotterdam, and Miami.
River House, also part of the South Street Landing, will provide living space for medical students studying in the region. The building features 174 units that front Point Street and the Providence River. An accompanying state-of-the-art parking garage complex will provide transportation options for commercial tenants, residents and visitors.
Isle Brewers Guild
Just minutes from downtown Providence, Isle Brewers Guild is revolutionizing the craft beer movement in New England. Its founders have renovated a circa 1846 mill in Pawtucket and developing a Partner Brewery where brewers will brew their suds under the care and supervision of their own brewmaster. A sprawling campus combines manufacturing, packaging, cold storage and tasting. A beer garden, festival grounds and master cicerone education opportunities round out the $12 million endeavor. IBG has the ability to brew 60,000 barrels and handle the packaging of kegs and cans, aging, a large-scale cold storage, laboratory services, and a 4,000+ square foot retail space. A beer hall allows patrons to sample selections from up and coming craft breweries.
Headquartered in Providence, Deepwater Wind is actively developing and building a portfolio of offshore wind projects to serve multiple markets on both the East and West Coasts of the U.S. The company’s path breaking Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island's coastal waters is the first in the nation and ties in with the region's concentrated specialties in marine and ocean technology.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is opening a new health technology center in Providence. The center will specialize in optimizing information technology and data analytics to create software applications to improve health outcomes.
"Rhode Island has a strong network of educators, employers and decision makers that are advancing the integration of different health-related technologies," according to Steve Wrenn, Global VP - Chief Applications Officer for Johnson & Johnson. "The I-195 corridor is uniquely suited to support Johnson & Johnson's new health technology center. Rhode Island gives us access to the economic development tools and university assets we need to stay competitive in the rapidly growing health tech space. As a company with locations and options worldwide, we are very pleased with the opportunity the Ocean State provides for this new center."
Virgin Pulse, part of Sir Richard Branson's famed Virgin Group, is expanding its operation in downtown Providence by more than 400 percent. The global company, which acquired ShapeUp Inc., will create nearly 300 new jobs in the next five years. Virgin Pulse is the leading provider of software and technology solutions that increase employee productivity and business performance by improving employee health, well-being and engagement.
"We considered a Boston office but ultimately chose Providence because of the access to talent and supportive business climate," said David Osborne, President and COO of Virgin Pulse. "Our growth strategy is centered on hiring high-potential, early-in-career talent. With its hip vibe, low cost of living and high density of college students, Providence was a great fit from both a business and cultural perspective."
United Natural Foods
United Natural Foods Inc., headquartered in Providence with $8.47 billion in net sales last fiscal year, expects to add 150 jobs by 2020 after selecting Rhode Island from about 30 prospective metro locations.The wholesale distributor moved its headquarters from Connecticut to Rhode Island in 2009 and has grown exponentially since then."It's exciting that Rhode Island-based operations such as United Natural Foods are deciding in Rhode Island's favor when they are considering where to expand," said Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "Some of our recent victories include companies moving into Rhode Island from outside our borders. It's enormously encouraging that companies such as UNFI are joining A.T. Cross and Ocean State Job Lot, and other Rhode Island companies, in growing right here."
Discount carrier Norwegian Air recently entered the Providence market, launching international flights out of T.F. Green Airport to Edinburgh, Belfast, Cork, Dublin, and Shannon. Buoyed by favorable market conditions, Norwegian also has added two new French Caribbean routes to their flight list.
Frontier Airlines has launched new low-fare service between T. F. Green and six new cities. The destinations from Providence include Charlotte N.C.; Fort Myers, Fla.; Miami, Fla; New Orleans, LA; Tampa, Fla. and Raleigh N.C. Last spring, Frontier commenced Denver and Orlando service from PVD.
Allegiant in July announced the only ultra-low-cost nonstop service connecting Providence to three destinations: Cincinnati, Fort Myers and Tampa Bay. "Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation,” said, Allegiant’s “ultra-low cost nonstop service to these popular markets is certain to attract more passengers to PVD. We know these flights will be popular, not only because of these great fares, but the destinations are also important to our customers. We welcome our new partner, Allegiant, to Green Airport (PVD) and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
Agoda Travel Operations USA Inc. (“Agoda”) is an online hotel and flight reservation website and a brand of The Priceline Group — the world’s largest online travel business. Agoda has opened its first U.S.-based Customer Experience Group office in Providence and will create 200 new jobs by 2019.
A fintech company that builds interactive technology for financial advisory professions and their clients has established a software development office in downtown Providence. eMoney Advisor has committed to bringing 100 new full-time jobs to the Ocean State by 2020, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo. Company officials say they were drawn to Rhode Island because of the quality and depth of the talent pool.
Trade Area Systems
Trade Area Systems (TAS), the only provider of market and business intelligence systems designed for retail real estate, has relocated its corporate headquarters from Attleboro, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island. During ribbon cutting ceremonies (pictured above) with Gov. Gina Raimondo and Mayor Elorza, company leaders enthused about the city's cool vibe and access to educated talent. TAS has been ranked by Inc. magazine at No. 3,369 on its 35th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. TAS registered a 98 percent sales growth over a three-year period to make the list.