GTECH Headquarters

also known as IGT Center

A modern, 13-story glass box reflecting the mall, the Westin, Union Station, and Waterplace park.

About this Property

#Proposal

Around April, 2004, news started to circulate that the GTECH Corporation, known for running state lotteries and gaming, was going to choose an architect to design their new headquarters to be situated in a vacant parcel (Parcel 9) on the corner of Memorial Boulevard and Francis Street. The Capital Center Commission had oversight on the development of the 77-acre Capital Center District, which rings the State House. Its Design Review Committee can approve, deny, or request modifications to submitted designs for any development in the area. The committee does not prohibit certain types of design, but it does work to make sure all new development “fits” with the Capital Center’s existing properties.

GTECH moved downtown from West Greenwich to fulfill its part of a 20-year lottery deal it signed with the state in 2004. To stop GTECH from moving its more than 900 employees to Massachusetts, Rhode Island offered the company a contract to run the state lottery for the next 20 years — an offer worth about $770 million. In return, GTECH agreed to stay in Rhode Island and move its corporate headquarters to Providence.

The $88.5-million structure includes a parking structure with 250 spaces. GTECH planned to occupy the first four floors of the building and rent out the remaining 2 floors.

A controversy did come up during the design phase of the process, when GTECH could try to get out of their deal with the State. While they had a sweetheart 20-year deal, a bill before the General Assembly seemed to allow other vendors to operate slot machines in a new casino proposed for West Warwick. GTECH was within their rights to challenge the new legislation according to their agreement with the State, but we are sure it did not hurt to have an over $80-million construction project also hanging in the balance.

#Design Reception

The design of the building went through a few rounds of review and modifications, but generally won high praise from Review Committee members. The first corporate headquarters in the downtown for over 14 years presented a building with ground-floor retail and public space along its Waterplace Park frontage. The sidewalks were widened as the designers clearly knew that this prominent gateway location would be highly trafficked.

“We’re suggesting that we expand the public realm,“ said Al Spagnolo, one of the firm’s principals. “[by] enhancing Francis Street and expanding the sidewalk… it would create more public space around the edges.”1

The design went through a few rounds, and most of the ideas received glowing reviews. The projecting illuminated Tower went through several revisions as design review members thought it might be too large or gaudy. The architect described it as a “transparent glass jewel.” The north side facing the state house received the most criticism and reworking to accommodate a more interesting set of shapes with terraces and levels. Additional designs for the building’s landscaping were handled by architect William D. Warner, who designed Waterplace Park. He worked to make the landscaping around GTECH’s headquarters an extension of the park.

The design gained approval in November of 2004 and construction started early in 2005.

In our opinion, the building literally reflects its surroundings quite well. The mostly glass and steel exterior is a sharp contrast to the nearby Marriott, Union Station, Westin, and Mall (the last two designed to look older than they actually are, but not as well crafted). But that sharp contrast is the most exciting part. Its short, squat shape is a great anchor on the corner without commanding too much focus. The State House still looks down on the property, and the hill rises to meet the State House. Each side of the building is specifically designed to address its neighbor. We think it is one of the more successful new construction projects in the decade.

And more was to come. As the GTECH exterior was being finished, our photos show the new Westin tower and Waterplace Towers under construction.

Italy-based GTECH purchased Las Vegas-based slot machine maker IGT in 2014 for $6.4 billion. The companies treated the acquisition as a merger and consolidated under the IGT name.

#Did you Know?

This site figured prominently in the 1999 Gravity Games held in Providence as the main competition area for street-style BMX and Skateboarding. Street Luge and Downhill were held on the streets of College Hill, while Freestyle Motorcross was held in a dirt track where Waterplace Towers and the Blue Cross building are, and a halfpipe and concession area occupied the corner of Francis and Gaspee Streets.

#In the News

Casino deal leads GTECH to rethink R.I. investments

The company warns that it may not go ahead with its plans because bills before the General Assembly fail to provide it with a portion of the slot machines in a new gaming facility.

by Andrea Stape
Providence Journal | June 24, 2004 (abridged)

Citing the casino legislation in front of the General Assembly, GTECH Holdings Corp. is reviewing its planned investments in Rhode Island — including its proposed $88.5-million corporate headquarters in downtown Providence.

GTECH says the two casino bills before the General Assembly do not guarantee that it can operate slot machines in the proposed West Warwick casino, contradicting a contract the company signed with the state last year.

Last year, the state gave GTECH a 20-year deal to run the Rhode Island lottery, which includes operating video slot machines at Newport Grand and Lincoln Park, with the company keeping a portion of the sales. The contract also guarantees that GTECH can operate the the lottery’s slot machines at any new gambling facilities.

But the pending legislation circumvents that guarantee, according to the company, and a casino could cause GTECH’s sales in Rhode Island to slide.

“We’re anxious to understand the state’s position on this,” said Robert Vincent, a spokesman for GTECH.

Last year, when GTECH negotiated its contract to become the exclusive lottery provider to the state, the possibility of a casino was discussed. Provisions were included in the contract for protecting GTECH’s revenue stream if a casino significantly decreases its take at the state’s two existing gambling parlors. GTECH operates nearly half the video-slot machines at Newport Grand and Lincoln Park.

However, according to GTECH, those provisions were not taken into consideration during the drafting of the casino legislation. The Senate and the House are expected to vote on bills today and tomorrow, respectively, that would allow a statewide referendum in November on the casino that Harrah’s Entertainment is seeking to build.

GTECH said yesterday that its revenue stream is not protected in the legislation, and it could end up seeing significantly less money from its exclusive deal than it originally anticipated.

“I guess it’s somewhat startling to us, that 11 months after we had the celebrations that we did [about the contract], that something would be passed by the state leaders that would have such a dramatic impact on that deal,” Vincent said.

As far as GTECH is concerned, when the General Assembly drafted the casino legislation it did not hold up its end of the deal.

“I don’t know that they appreciate the level of impact [the legislation] has on our investment,” Vincent said.

House and Senate leaders couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.

If a casino causes gambling to drop at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand, and GTECH is not guaranteed a revenue stream from a new casino, it would be hard for the company to justify investing $100 million in the state, Vincent said.

“We certainly are reviewing all of the options that we have that were related to the investment decisions that we made in Rhode island,” said Vincent.

Under the deal signed last year, GTECH could be freed from several requirements if its state lottery revenue drops due a casino. If there was a 10-percent revenue reduction, GTECH would not have to invest $100 million in its corporate headquarters and in lottery system upgrades by December 2008, and it would not have to keep 1,000 employees in the state. Also, the company would not be obligated to make other lottery system improvements and updates.

If competition from a casino causes total revenue from the state’s existing gambling facilities to fall 10 percent compared with the prior year and overall video lottery terminal revenue is less than $450 million a year, the state would have to pay GTECH. The company paid the state $12.5 million last year to secure the contract. If revenue falls, the state would have to return a prorated portion of the fee.

The state made the deal with GTECH last year, after the company said it was thinking about moving its 1,050 employees to Massachusetts. In return for staying in Rhode Island and building its corporate headquarters in Providence, the state offered GTECH the exclusive contract. The contract to run the lottery is expected to generate $770 million for GTECH.

As part of the deal, the West Greenwich-based company receives licenses to run 1,860 of the state’s video lottery terminals at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand. GTECH gets to keep a portion of each machine’s income. The contract also gives GTECH the rights to run the central computer that manages all the video slots in the state.

Under the terms of the contract, if the Rhode Island Lottery Commission “obtains” any new gaming machines — such as at a new casino — GTECH would be entitled to operate at least 50 percent of the new video lottery terminals or “other gaming machines,” such as traditional slots.

However, under the recently drafted casino legislation, the Rhode Island lottery would not obtain any machines — Harrah’s would handle them directly. Consequently, GTECH would not get 50 percent of the machines. […]

From UrbanPlanet.org{target=”_blank”}, captured from http://www.projo.com/business/content/projo_20040624_gtk624.161cc5.html

  1. “GTECH’s plans for downtown win raves”, Andrea L. Stape for the Providence Journal, May 5, 2004. Captured May 5, 2004 on UrbanPlanet.org. https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/7048-complete-gtech-center/, http://www.projo.com/business/content/projo_20040505_gt05x.1dce9.html